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Metatarsal Fracture

There are five metatarsal bones in each foot, connecting your ankle to your toes, helping you to balance when you are standing or walking supporting the foot, and propelling you forwards. Fractures of the metatarsal bones are very common – particularly among footballers.

Fractures can sometimes be ‘open’ where the skin is broken and the bones can be seen sticking out or ‘displaced’ where the bones become misaligned.

What causes metatarsal fractures?

Fractures can be caused by a blow to the foot, a fall, dropping a heavy object onto the foot or a sporting injury caused, for example one player stepping on or kicking the foot of another. Fractures can also be caused by a sudden twist to the foot.

Stress fractures can be caused by overuse of the bones and are common, for example, in runners.

What are the signs of a metatarsal fracture?

You may hear a ‘crack’ when the injury happens. There will be pain and tenderness, as well as bruising and swelling. You may find it difficult to put weight on the foot and movement may be limited. In some cases, the pain eases after a few hours.

How is a metatarsal fracture diagnosed?

During your first appointment, you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your symptoms with Mr Heidari, who will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment. He may also arrange X-rays and CT scans in order to assess the damage.

What does treatment involve?

Treatment depends on which bone is fractured and how serious the damage is. It will vary depending on whether the fracture is open, or the bone displaced. If the fracture is not open or displaced, taking painkillers (if advised by your doctor), resting the foot above the level of your heart and applying an ice pack regularly may be enough for it to heal. Mr Heidari may also advise you to wear a supportive dressing or plaster cast.

If necessary, Mr Heidari can carry out surgery to realign displaced bones, repair a fracture and avoid long term problems including a pain and arthritis. Mr Heidari may also suggest that you follow a tailored rehabilitation programme with a member of our physiotherapy team.



This information is written as a guide to your treatment but it is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Please contact us for advice if you are worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.