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I Twisted My Foot and It Hurts! What is a Jones Fracture?

You may have twisted your foot while playing soccer. Or maybe you just missed a step and twisted your ankle. Now you have pain and swelling on the outside of your foot. Ouch! You may have fractured your fifth metatarsal, otherwise known as a Jones fracture.

What is the 5th metatarsal?

The metatarsals are bones that connect the back of the foot to the toes. The 5th metatarsal is on the outside of the foot. Some people can see a bump on the outside of their foot, which can be the base of the 5th metatarsal.  

Unfortunately, the base of the 5th metatarsal is a common type of fracture, and can be difficult to heal. The 5th metatarsal is curved at the base, with an area between the base and the shaft that is known to have poor blood supply. Fractures in this area are known as Jones fractures, and they can have some difficulty healing due to the poor blood supply.

What are the symptoms of a Jones fracture?

There can be many symptoms of a Jones fracture. Some patients have pain before the fracture. Common symptoms include:

What are the different types of 5th metatarsal fractures?

  1. Tuberosity – A small piece of bone is pulled off the base
  2. Meta-diaphyseal – Jones fracture
  3. Diaphyseal – Similar to Jones fracture
  4. Shaft – Distal (down by the toe)

The surgeons at Southwest Orthopedic Group can evaluate your x-rays and discuss if and what type of 5th metatarsal fracture you have. 

What are the causes of a Jones fracture?

If the foot twists, it can put a lot of force on the 5th metatarsal, causing a fracture. Twisting can occur when running, jumping or cutting. If you twist your ankle, you can also break your 5th metatarsal. 

Stress fractures can occur in the 5th metatarsal. In this case, patients have mild pain with activity before the fracture occurs. Stress fractures can happen if there is a sudden increase in activity or training. 

How do you diagnose a Jones fracture?

Your orthopedic surgeon can diagnose a 5th metatarsal and a Jones fracture using standard x-rays. If x-rays are negative, but there is still concern for a stress fracture, an MRI may be useful.

A CT scan can be used to evaluate 5th metatarsal healing or in preoperative planning. 

What are the risk factors for a Jones fracture?

Patients with a naturally high-arched foot can be at higher risk for Jones fracture. However, patients who have flatfeet can get Jones fractures too. 

A sudden increase in weight bearing activity can also lead to a stress fracture and a Jones fracture. 

If you are concerned you have a 5th metatarsal fracture, contact your orthopedic surgeon for further evaluation and treatment. 

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) has more information about Jones fracture: FootCareMD.

For more questions or to set up an evaluation, contact Dr. Stautberg’s office at 281-977-4870. 

Eugene Stautberg, MD

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