5th Metatarsal fracture. Questions for you guys

Posted , 5 users are following.

2 weeks ago yesterday I fractured my 5th metatarsal. All I did was step out of my car wrong. I am in my early 50s, very fit. I workout 5 times a week, and have a very active lifestyle. Now I am ending my 2nd week of NWB and its rough! I am back at work, mainly just sitting around. I bought a knee crutch which has been a lifesaver. So much easier than crutches. I can 'walk', and have both hands free to carry things, which is nice. Its called an iWalk2 if you want to see what I am talking about.

I have tried to post a photo of the xray. I went the night after the injury to Urgent Care and they confirmed with xray that it was fractured. I walked around all day on it, it really felt just like a sprain. But it had started to bruise a bit, so that's why I went in. The following day I went to a podiatrist in town that friends referred me to. He put a cast on and told me to come back in a week to see how it was healing, then we'd decide if we wanted to do surgery, or just let it heal itself. 

Last Wednesday I went back and he said that it looked good. Still about the same, but he said a week is not enough time to really tell. He said it was 50/50 whether to have surgery. He discouraged the surgery, he said usually these heal on their own and there was no reason to think mine would be any different. He took off the cast and gave me an airboot. He wants me to take it off to shower, and for short breaks at the end of the day for icing. And he ordered me a bone stimulator, but its $600 (my copay) so I have not decided if I want to get it or not. 

I have an appointment to back to see him next Wednesday (that will be 4 weeks after injury).

Question: do any of you have experience with the bone stimulator for a similar fracture? I cant really afford to throw away $600 if its not going to do much.

Question: I have read that these fractures recur. Have any of you had one break for a second time? Are there any 'strengthening' exercises that one can do to help protect these bones? Special shoes? I dont want to go through this again.

Question: I have borderline osteoporosis. Well, its not horrible, but do you think this will hinder my healing? Dr. didnt seem to think so, but I am not sure he thought about it very seriously when I asked. 

Thanks in advance for any info/advice you can share! 

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15 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Kim, I know the drill. I am almost 68, have osteopenia but take Prolea which has helped, ride horses and work out as well. I had a stress fracture of my 5th metatarsal 5 months ago. I went to a foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon who told me these fractures heal better and faster with a simple screw but since mine was non displaced stress fracture that I could wait 6 weeks to see how it was healing. I was non weight bearing 4 and knew it was not healing properly nor fast enough for me. She put a screw in at week 4, was non weight bearing another 4 weeks with bone stimulator which I swear by!! She sent a rep out with one and I actually still have it. My medicare would not pay! After 4 weeks I was weight bearing in a hard shoe another 4 weeks then healed!! No issues. My surgeon did say surgery guaranteed no recurrance. Surgery for me because of block was painless. Just wish I had not wasted the first 4 weeks. Hope my story helps.
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  • Posted

    calcium and vitamin D and lot of weight bearing exercise will strengthen your bones.

    Carefully weigh the possibility of developing an osteonecrosis after use of osteoporosis medications...to my knowledge, it remains unpredictable as to who is at risk and who is not at risk. I lost a hugh section of bone, as in no longer in my mouth, and many teeth of my mandible to osteonecrosis of the jawbone.

    I am in the USA, if a bone stimulator is what we term an anodyne, my response is, yes it works. An anidyne is external with infrared electrodes you place in position for set periods of time with some number of repetitions per day. I have used my anodyne for bone and tissue recovery. Thevprincipal is that infrared light spectrum attracts red blood cells. Red blood cells carry nutrients and oxygen. Nutrients and oxygen promote healing.

    hugs

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    • Posted

      Ha I am 68, ride horses, lift bales of hay, take care of a farm, lift weights, run, am 5'41/2, weigh 117. Developed osteopenia in my 40's. Seems little Jewish women are cursed!! I am aware of the side effects of meds but check out Prolea which seems to have much less side effects than the older meds. Being a rider makes the decision to or not to difficult. I have had a total shoulder, ACL, other surgeries, so far all healed perfectly well with no lingering issues. My daughter in law is an oncologist and as you, was skeptical about the drugs. Husband retired Radiologist. Difficult being me who does not want to give up my lifestyle YET!! Thanks for input!! Tough decision!!

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    • Posted

      Oh man, have heard of this from the other meds. So sorry for you! So you are sure that was the cause? Since I have been taking it had a complete shoulder and 5th metatarsal screw. Did well but it is the jaw that is the problem, right?

      A few years ago crossed the line from osteopenia to porosis. Now spine rates normal and one hip osteopenia. It is such a difficukt decision being a rider. Thanks and stay well. Oh, really Scottish women as well?? 😱😜

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    • Posted

      yes, Prolia...did my lower jaw in...was told I was a 6 on the 1-10 scale...I would hate to see a 10.

      I have fractured wrist, hip, femur, foot but can not take any osteoporosis medications ever again. Have meet some who had the osteonecrosis hit the hip.

      Too bad no way to tell who is susceptible. Had Forteo but like 12 years prior. So take Vitamin D, and calcium

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  • Posted

    I am 62 I broke 5th metatarsal last April I was put in airboot 24hour a day not allowed to take it off when showering. Ankle stiffened had phisio and now I am back doing everything swimming walking and driving had no surgery. Take Dr.Advice if operation is not necessary don't have one.natural way is always best.

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    • Posted

      Well i just could not stand NWB as long as it would have taken to heal and without surgery there is a high recurrance rate for people as physical as I am. Between surgery which was a non issue, and me being back to normal, was a total of 8 weeks with only 4 NWB. But many are afraid of surgery. All different.

      Also my orthopedic surgeon put the screw in lengthwise. Podiatrist sometimes put them in cross wise. I prefer MD over the other.

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  • Posted

    Thank you all for the input. I was speaking to an acquaintance last night who broke her foot about a year ago. Not the 5th metatarsal, but her xray looked similar to mine. She did not have surgery, and did use the bone stimulator (external unit with the pads you stick on your skin) and she healed well. She was down about 8 weeks total. My dr said 8-10 weeks before I was walking normally without the boot, so that makes sense. I guess there is no way to know for sure how something will heal. 

    After this is all done, I'll check into the bone density issue. Dont want to complicate things further by adding in any new meds or treatments. 

    I am still debating back and forth on whether to get the bone stimulator. $600 is a lot to pay, but hopefully it really does help. My insurance covers 80%, so that thing is pretty darn expensive! My husband wants me to wait and see if it heals ok without it, but I want to heal as quick as possible and not wait too long. 

    I'll keep you posted. 

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  • Posted

    I have used a bone stimulator for about 5 months and have seen some improvement, but probably would have been in better shape if I had not waited so long to use it.  My insurance would not pay for it for 90 days and I felt that nature would heal it without it.  My out of pocket before 90 days would have been $3,000.00. Whether using it before the 90 days would have improved the results, I'll never know. At this point, the plate doc used to secure the fusions (I had 6) has moved and I'm in a lot of pain.  Doc says he probably let me out of the boot too soon, but my husband was diagnoised with in-operable stage 4 lung cancer in August, and he let me wear a good support athletic shoe because I was in and out of the hospital. I'm going to need surgery to remove the plate, but the delima is I need to help with my husband with his chemo treatments and can't do surgery at this time.  My advice is, if you're going to use the bone stimulator don't wait too long.

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    • Posted

      so sorry to hear about your husband. Sending healing thoughts and prayers your way!

      I borrowed a bone stimulator from a friend and started using it about a week ago. I went to the dr yesterday and he took xrays and the bone is healing. Not sure if its from the bone stimulator or not, but I am glad its healing! 2 more weeks NWB and then hopefully into the walking boot for 2-3 weeks and then be done. 

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  • Posted

    Went back today to see the dr. Today was suppose to be the day when he was going to tell me I could start walking in the boot.. but alas, it wasn't. He said that the gap top and bottom is not closing. Boo hoo. So now we are going to stay non-weight bearing for a few more days, then next week I will start walking on it (in aircast boot) 2 hours a day. He thinks that maybe it needs some actual pressure on it so the bone can heal. I sure hope so! He says as long as it doesnt hurt, then I am good to go. I am a bit scared, I will continue with the bone stimulator, which hopefully will help, too. I know that this bone is slow healing but he seemed really surprised that it had not healed more. 

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