Metatarsal fracture

We’ll help you move around again without irritation

A metatarsal fracture (metatarsal injury) isn’t unheard of in football. But it doesn’t just happen to athletes. An accident at home or rolling over your foot while running can cause your metatarsal bones to become fractured. Depending on which metatarsal bone is affected and how many, bleeding and severe swelling of the foot can occur alongside the metatarsal injury. This is typically very painful and you’ll also no longer be able to walk.

Our specialists at Schoen Clinic have many years of experience in treating foot injuries. Whether through conservative or surgical treatment, we’ll help you safely get back on your feet again.

Causes & symptoms

What makes up the metatarsal bones?

Your midfoot consists of five metatarsal bones that lie between your tarsus and your toes. Together with the tarsal bones, they make up the so-called Lisfranc joint. Your metatarsal bones end at the metatarsophalangeal joints (your toe joints). The toes and metatarsal bones are referred to as the forefoot. The metatarsal bones can shift towards one another to a slight extent, giving your forefoot good mobility and letting it adjust to uneven surfaces when walking or standing.

Causes: how does a metatarsal fracture occur?

When you apply too much strain on your foot, a stress fracture can occur. A foot deformity which constantly places excessive strain on your forefoot is another potential cause. People with low bone density, such as patients with osteoporosis for example, are also at risk.

Excessive stresses on the outer edge of your foot can cause stress fractures, even in the fifth metatarsal bone. In this case, the tendon of the short fibular muscle can fracture the bones instead. This results in a Jones fracture: a break at the base of the fifth metatarsal bone. This area takes the longest to heal due to its poor blood flow.

A car running over your foot or your foot being twisted in a fall from a great height can cause a dislocation in part of the Lisfranc joint. The bases of the metatarsal bones can break individually, but they can also break together. Your joint capsules can also be torn.

Symptoms: signs of a metatarsal fracture

Stress fractures can occur on long walks or while jogging, for example. They’re characterised by swelling, bleeding and significant pain when walking and standing.

If there is severe bleeding, blood vessels and nerves may have also been squashed. In the worst-case scenario, this can lead to a loss of the foot. Emergency surgery is therefore necessary in case of symptoms such as circulatory failure and increasing feelings of numbness.

Diagnostics

Diagnosis: how we determine a metatarsal fracture

For a precise diagnosis, our specialists will physically examine you in depth. We’ll also take X-ray images of your foot.

External examination of your foot is carried out first

It’s crucial for us to know how the accident happened and what occurred exactly. Your physical examination will provide further clarification. Localised pain on pressure, a deformity of your foot and reduced sensitivity in your foot or toes can indicate the type of injury. If one of your joints is dislocated, we can feel the bones underneath the skin if necessary.

X-ray recordings support an accurate diagnosis

X-ray images show your foot in up to three planes. This way, we can precisely examine break lines and the position of your joints, and rule out dislocation of the bones or a change in their position. When the focus is not just on the extent of the injury but on the need for surgery, we also carry out magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computer tomography (CT).