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I thought I would just put a quick post re the experience of someone who has broken her 5th metatarsal, mid shaft, displaced although minimally, as a lot of the posts/articles on the internet seem to be very pessimistic and depressing.
So..my story..skip the detail if you want but have written it all down. I broke my 5th metarsal on 16 December, it is now 23 Febuary. Someone came down on it very heavily in high heels and broke it, spiral fracture, slightly displaced. I didn't realise it was broken at first, just thought it was swollen and bruised...and boy was it bruised! Never seen anything like it! Anyway, did the usual, rest, elevation, compression and ice and kept hobbling about, using the opposite side of my foot to hobble round the house...after all it was Chrismas and I didn't have time to rest! Luckily could stay pretty much in the house so didn't do massive amount of walking...and couldn't get a shoe on anyway! Did mention it to a locum doctor on 23 Dec, but had gone about something else, and he dismissed it without looking at it, just telling me to RICE it..which I already was.
After a day or so, bruising still horrendous, I decided to see my usual doctor who referred me immediately to get it x-rayed. This was on 28 Dec..and the fracture showed up to my shock. X ray technician metntioned going straight to A and E but then said all they would do is make me an appointment at the fracture clinic, which I may as well get from my doctor, when the information about my fracture had got to my doctore (and no, I couln't have the letter to hand in, it had to go by snail /Royal Mail) I had started by now to use crutches...no weight bearing on bad foot at all.
A week later, as soon as I could (bank holidays delayed information getting to doctor and hence consultation) I saw my doctor who phoned the hospital after reading the letter to make me an urgent appointment with the consultant for the following Monday (this was Friday)
I went and saw him and to my shock he was very, to me , pessimistic and not a little rushed. Told me it was a nasty fracture, difficult to heal, and I might very likely end up having two operations, one to put pins and plates in and one to take them out. Oh..and the plate would stick out of my (slim) foot and there was a high risk of infection etc as we were operating on bone. However, he told me I could still go to work, drive (this was my clutch foot) as long as it wasn't for long (work is 10 minutes drive away) and elevated and rested foot at every opportunity....and it might be an idea if I used crutches and didn't put weight on it BUT he didn't put it in an air boot or cast. (which concerned me a little)
This I did, but no real improvement, in fact it got worse, swelling up, pins and needles in toes and very sore and swollen behind toes, on ball of foot. Went back again to hospital, saw a different doctor, who told me I should be off work, not driving, moving as little as possible and keeping foot above heart level. For at least a MONTH!
So...I have done that. Googled the injury to death, scaring myself and becoming depressed over what I have read. Rested completely, didn't put any weight on it , crawled and used a pair of crutches at all times, slept with it elevated, sat with it elevated, compression bandage at times, rubbed comfrey oil on it twice a day , used epsom salt baths (used to lose the circulation and it also helped a little with swelling), tried to keep my leg muscled with scissor action exercise etc Wore hiking/timberland boots (still doing this) It was still sore and swollen however behind the toes, so much so I wondered if there was other damage, but have now realised this was a result of not using my foot on the floor at all.
NOW....9 weeks from when I first injured it, I have been told this week I can put a little weight on it and start to walk, even though the bone hasn't joined up AT ALL, no callus etc on the x-ray the consultant reckons there is fibre etc holding it and I am now ready to walk on it. (I was prepared for there to be no sign of healing ..research on internet again!) It isn't sore to touch although aches a little (almost a burn) now I am walking on it..but I have read this can be a sign of healing.
I am walking about with either one or no crutches,taking it very slowly, but I cannot believe I am actually walking on it, I can stand on both feet in the shower etc.....I NEVER thought this would be the case after only 8 - 9 weeks after all I had read on the internet...and those weeks felt interminable! I have broken bones in my foot before but have never been as disabled with it as with the 5th metarasal break, and never felt so depressed over an injury after googling it all. So, I didn't have an air boot, nor a cast, which seems to have worked for me, although it was very hard work getting about on crutches or crawling (calloused knees now!) and mentally , although I kept reminding myself it wasn't a life threatening condition, it still got me down at times as there didn't seem to be any improvement.
In my experience, yes it has taken a long time to get better...and I am still not there by any means...haven't walked out of the house yet...but I feel I AM on th road to recovery, which is the main thing. I won't be running (which I do) for quite a while I think, nor doing a lot of long distance walking but at least I am getting better. After reading such a lot of depressing and pessimistic posts on this injury I felt I had to post a more optimistic one..and I hope at least some of you out there have just as good a recovery if you have fractured your 5th metatarsal.
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