The 5th metatarsal is the bone which sits on the outside of the foot, at the base of the pinkie. This bone plays a key role in our foot, because it serves as an attachment for many muscles that allow the foot to move outward, as well as up and down. For this reason, this bone is susceptible to fractures when the ankle is forced inward. One of the most common and serious fractures that happen to this bone are called “Jones fractures”. A Jones fracture is a break which occurs within 1.5cms to the tuberosity of the 5th metatarsal. This fracture is most commonly confused with an avulsion fracture of the styloid process of the same bone, which occurs when one of the tendons that attaches on that bone break a piece of the bone off.
Jones fractures are one of the most difficult fractures to treat in the body, and it is important to diagnose them as soon as possible. These fractures are very common in the sports world and need to be treated with surgical intervention to give athletes the best opportunity for them to get back on the field quickly. It is important for you to see your foot and ankle specialist if you feel like you may have suffered this type of injury, so that it can be treated in the best manner.
The Jones fracture is named after Sir Robert Jones who sustained the fracture while dancing and, subsequently, published it in the Annals of Surgery in 1902. This fracture is very problematic because the amount of available blood to the area is limited, therefore stunting the healing process. As a result, this fracture can be debilitating and take months to heal.
This fracture has become very common in the sports world with mainstream players such as Julio Jones, Kevin Durant, and most recently Dez Bryant suffering from this fracture. Julio Jones, who suffered this fracture back in 2013 missed about 75% of the season following the injury. Kevin Durant who suffered the injury during the 2014 season, missed 55 of 82 games last year, and recently had a second surgery with a bone graft to fix complications from the fracture. Dez Bryant recently underwent surgery to fix his Jones fracture, and is estimated to be out for the next 6-8 weeks.
Because of the placement of the Jones fracture, and the different variables which come along with this injury, surgical intervention is the recommended treatment. This is to avoid any delayed or non-unions of the fracture. Surgical hardware is placed along the fracture site to bring bony compression and union across the break. Unfortunately with this fracture, even surgical intervention may not guarantee a fast recovery, and bends and failure of the hardware are very common.
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