WHAT IS IT? METATARSAL FRACTURE
Metatarsals are the long bones in the feet. 1st ray is the metatarsal in line with the big toe. The 5th metatarsal is the metatarsal in line with the little toe.
Fractures of the metatarsals can be stress fractures or related to a single traumatic incident.
Signs & Symptoms
Gradual onset of pain
Local tenderness specific to the metatarsal
Pain which over time worsens with activity
2nd metatarsal most commonly affected
Traumatic incident fracture:
Audible snap or crack
Related to traumatic accident
Inability to weight bear
What Causes It?
Shorter 1st ray compared to 2nd metatarsal
Trauma such as an ankle sprain
Sports including ballet, running
How to Self Manage
Seek an assessment and diagnosis, as rest from activity may be required
Rest from aggravating activities (4-6 weeks)
X-ray, bone scan, or MRI are the optimal investigations for a suspected metatarsal fracture
Surgery and immobilisation may be required for an unstable traumatic fracture (especially for the 2nd and 5th metatarsals).
How Physio Helps
Assessment of the metatarsals for bony damage
Biomechanical review of the foot and lower limb
Prescribe an individualised plan of management
Referral for investigation (x-ray, bone scan, MRI) scan for confirmation of diagnosis
Referral to an orthopaedic specialist for advice on management
Prescribe use of an aircast to reduce pain initially
Referral to a podiatrist for biomechanical review and orthotic prescription