Fifth metatarsal displaced fracture type 3 share your experiences.

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In ballet class last week I landed badly on my left foot. I thought it was an ankle sprain but next morning, after checking my symptoms online decided to go to A&E. I have a displaced fracture of the shaft of the fifth metatarsal. Today I had my session at the hospital with a foot and ankle surgeon who was standing in for the consultant.

The doctor was of the opinion that the fracture should heal well by just resting, using a boot and crutches where necessary avoiding weight bearing.  I have read that the recovery time without surgery is quite lengthy and the risk of a repeat fracture is increased. I am also concerned that, left to heal on its own, full functionality may not be regained.  I am over 50, very active and LOVE dancing. It would be quite a blow if I could not get back into it. 

Has as anyone out there been through something similar? Or if you are starting out, like me, what choices have you been given? I am in the UK south West area. 

Also the doctor first said I should use the boot at night. I said that would be very uncomfortable and were there other options. In the end he said a compression stocking would be enough. I have seen some soft splints. Any thoughts on these?

Here is a photo of my X-ray 

 

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  • Posted

    Tens of thousands of people have had this injury. They heal. Do not think that you are different.

    Better than the (expensive) "boot" is your own shoe.

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    • Posted

      Thanks for your message. I guess that is exactly what I am counting on, that I am no different and that I will heal fully. Hearing other people's experiences and advice can be very reassuring. 
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  • Posted

    Hi Ana Martha,

    I, too, am older (late 40s), love to dance, and have a displaced 5th metatarsal in my left foot. My injury happened 5 weeks ago in a ballet class. I think I already had a stress fracture just above where the displaced break happened. Because there were two breaks in the bone and pretty bad displacement, I had surgery to put a plate in it. That was 4 weeks ago. I was not put in a cast or anything. I was simply told to use crutches and not put any weight on it for 4-6 weeks. I hated the crutches  - you can't carrry anthing when using them, so I stopped using them at 2.5 weeks for a few days and shuffled around on my heal in a big shoe. Then the pain got bad again so I went back to crutches. I got a knee scooter for home so I can cook in the kitchen, do laundry, etc. Pain was better and it seemed to be healing. Then last night when I was tired I was getting on the scooter to go to bed and I accidently slipped and put all my weight on that foot. I've been in so much pain for the past 12 hours. I'll get an xray tomorrow to see what is going on.

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    • Posted

      Update: 

      I had post-op xrays this week and everything is healing normally. The doc has not yet given me the okay to put weight on it, but it's starting to feel much better now that it's almost been 5 weeks since surgery.

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    • Posted

      I attached a photo from another view. I'm waiting to hear from my doc. I had the xrayed done somewhere else so he hasnt seen them yet.
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    • Posted

      The bunion has been there for years so that is not new. It does seem like the screws are pushing soft tissue becuase my 2nd two seems further right than before, but it's also still swollen so I figured it'll get better when the swelling is gone. I attached a photo of the original fracture. The screen shot doesnt show that whole foot, so it's not a perfect comparison. 
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    • Posted

      Can you send the lateral view?

      I can SEE that the screws are in the soft tissues. Where else do you think they could be? That is not vacant space!

      The screw nearest the ankle is probably not in the bone in any event.

      You will need you foot for the remainder of your life. It does not need special skills or training to see that a bumbling amateur has meddled/muddled with it.

      You have already had troubles in the form of five weeks of pain since the surgery. That was the pain of the surgical assault, nothing to do with the broken bone. Pain equals damage, so considerable damage was done. More that two days surgical  pain should be unacceptable

      Technically, even assuming that surgery was necessary (which might not have been the case) an intramedullary cannulated screw would have sufficed, inserted via a tiny incision perhaps under local anaesthesia, and eventually removed in the same way.

      You probably have a social duty to name and shame the surgeon and hospital.

      Oh, I had forgotten: One unforeseen consequences of the NHS initiative to globalise all medical records has made patients afraid to report malpractice because they believe that it will become known that they are “difficult patients” and would suffer for that.

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    • Posted

      Hi. I have bien busy trying to work from home, attending to the foot and developing ways of managing more independently. So apologies for not replying sooner. 

      Your fracture is very similar to mine but yours is more displaced. Hence the operation, I guess.  I am going for an X-ray in two weeks. My foot is almost back to normal with just slight swelling around the ankle and the site of the fracture. There is still some discolouration from all the bruising.

      I have very little pain now. But have not put any weight on the foot or tried to flex it. It feels so much better. 

      Is the pain getting easier now for you? I can see what jp66967 means about the bits sticking into the soft tissues but the second X-ray looks much tidier. I look forward to reading about your progress.

       

       

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    • Posted

      Yes, I think mine was more displaced than yours (mine was almost 5 mm). Also, there were multiple fractures so the plate was used to put the pieces back together.

      It's been six weeks since my surgery now and it's much better. I started some PT this week (picking up a marble with my toes, some moderate flexing and pointing with a lightweight theraband, etc.). I've been off crutches for two days now and I just walked 1/2 mile. It's going to take a lot of work to get my foot and entire leg back in shape. My calf muscle is spasming slightly from the walking! The good news is that my foot feels pretty much ok. I'm going to start back with pilates mat classes next week, and hopefully back to dancing in a 2-3 weeks.

      I'll look into whether or not I need the hardware removed after the bone is 100% healed at 8-10 weeks. Removing all those screws will cause the bone to be re-weakened, so there will be a whole new healing process.

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    • Posted

      It sounds like you are doing pretty well. You say you probably had a stress fracture already. Had you noticed anything?  How did your accident happen?

      I'll be very happy to I be doing a half mile walk seven weeks from my accident, fingers crossed!. I am also keen to get back to dancing but everyone says I'll have to be patient and not get back on I'll fully recovered. I guess the physiotherapist will have a fairly good idea and pain would let me know, I guess.

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    • Posted

      I think the stress fracture happened 1-2 weeks before my next fracture. I remember it hurt in a ballet class, but then the pain wasn't enough to make me stop. In retrospect, I should have stayed off in then and that probably would have healed fine by itself. 

      Yes, it's going to be difficult not to rush, but we need to take the time to re-train our feet so that they dont get injured again.

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    • Posted

      Don't listen to that jp66967 guy! he trolled my discussion on my surgery, trying to convince me surgery wasn't going to speed up my union. What a load of BS. Pro athletes are a prime example of why surgery works for these injuries. Pro athletes always choose the fastest, most effective recovery method. 5th met fractures can be tricky. Good for you getting the surgery. Healing naturally is ok too but the re-fracture rate is much higher.
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    • Posted

      Hi Maurice. I am so glad you have joined the discussion. I went for my 6-week X-ray yesterday and was really disappointed to see what little progress there seems to be. I am still in pain, especially at night if I take the boot off. And now I have been told that we need to give it another six weeks of no weight bearing and then check it again. When I mentioned getting back to normal and dancing the doctor was decidedly guarded.  I'll post the X-ray  next. I think the gap they are expecting to be filled with new bone is quite large. Because of the way the bone has split it looks to me as if 50% or more of the metatarsal will end up quite weakened over a number of months if not for good. Plus it all looks so out of shape. Surely that can't be good for function.  When I mentioned to the doctor that it was important to me that I could get back to dancing he said something along the lines that that particular bone was probably not so crucial!  Anyway he has agreed to me seeing  the consultant in charge next week to discuss having an op.  I do hope the consultant will agree that will be the best course of action. 
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    • Posted

      Hi pattycam.  Please see my new post in reply to Maurice's comment.  How are you doing? And X-ray further down. I feel I am back to square one!!! Are you walking normally now? Are you doing exercise? Have you heard whether the hardware is coming out or staying in?  I expect you had a cut along the side of the foot. Did it heal ok?  Was it a day procedure for you? Under general? 

      Sorry to to be asking so many questions but the way the doctor was talking about the op was very pro not doing anything. I do know that there is a risk in operating but you seem to be a very good example of the benefits in terms of quicker healing and, hopefully, a stronger bone in the long term.

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