Physiotherapy for 5th Metatarsal Fractures

A metatarsal bone fracture is a complete or incomplete break in one of the five metatarsal bones in each foot. These long thin bones are located between the toes and the ankle (between the tarsal bones in the hindfoot and the phalanges in the forefoot).

5 to 6% of all fractures treated in primary care are metatarsal fractures. It are the most common injuries of the foot. They are about ten times as frequent as Lisfranc-dislocations. They are equally among men and women and among all racial groups.  The fifth metatarsal is the most common type of fracture.

The distribution of the fractures looks as follow:

  • First metatarsal: 5%
  • Second metatarsal: 12%
  • Third metatarsal: 14%
  • Fourth metatarsal: 13%
  • Fifth metatarsal: 56%
  • Multiple metatarsal fractures: 15,6%

A Fracture of the unfused fifth metatarsal base apophysis is a kind of fracture is typically present in 9- to 14 year-olds. Unlike fractures which occur is this area, the lucent line, associated with an unfused apophysis, is always longitudinally oriented. Comparison radiographs of the contralateral foot are helpful in equivocal cases.

Physical Therapy Management

The duration of treatment of a metatarsal fracture depends on the location and type of fracture.
The first days are protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation important until the swelling is stabilized.

Initial therapy exercises:

Focus on little to no weight-bearing on the affected limb as the bones continue to calcify and heal properly. Therapists will introduce manual therapy around the ankle and plantar of the foot to minimize inflammation and pain while also promoting increased ROM within the smaller metatarsal and tarsal joints. Ice needs to be applied to reduce swelling and inflammation.
The physical therapist could perform soft tissue massage, joint mobilizations, electrotherapy, hydrotherapy and later on exercises to increase strength, flexibility and balance.

Contact FIT Physiotherapy today to learn more about how we can help treat your 5th Metatarsal Fracture.

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