Fifth Metatarsal Treatment Question

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Hi,

My daughter broke her fifth metatarsal four weeks ago today. She was put in in an air cast (walking boot) for four weeks. We were originally told 6 weeks - and when we went to the doctor's yesterday he said come back in four weeks - when I asked why it was now 8 weeks over 6 he said because it didn't heal the way he expected and then said ......no more boot....just regular walking shoe.....only walking. Should we be concerned? If it hasn't healed should she not still be in the cast?

 

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  • Posted

    What Ive been told repeatedly  by people (and am experiencing) is that the foot and bones take a really long time to heal.  People who have had bunionectomies have told me that their foot did not stop swelling and did not feel normal for 1-3 years!   I think Drs far underestimate healing - not sure if it’s on purpose- because you would think they would know.   You could always go for a second opinion to someone else 
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    • Posted

      Thank you - I understood the extra weeks when he told me it hadn’t healed as much as he wanted - it was the “take the boot off and go to regular shoe” that has us perplexed.
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  • Posted

    Not necessarily! In 2015 I fractured my 5th metatarsal. It was a bad one - displaced. I was put in a cast for 6 weeks & at the 6 week checkup there was no sign of healing so the consultant wanted me in a cast for another 4 weeks. I panicked & paid for a private consultation. The new consultant told me bones don’t tend to start growing until 6 weeks anyway. He also tested my calcium & Vit D levels & put me on high doses as this helps with bone healing. He also took the cast off & put me in an aircast boot telling me to walk as much as I could for 2 weeks then transitioned me into a shoe. The walking can stimulate bone growth & indeed it did work for me. I’ve recently had to have foot surgery (other foot!) which included breaking my heel bone & realigning it along with doing the same to my 1st & 4th metatarsals & an ankle ligament reconstruction.  My consultant said the same thing & I was told to start partial weight bearing in an aircast boot at 4 weeks post op & full weight bearing in the boot 6 weeks post op, again transitioning into a shoe at 8 weeks post op. So what your doctor is saying sounds right & it may also be worth checking your daughters Vit d & calcium levels. She’ll need more than usual probably anyway to help her bones heal. Hope this helps. Best wishes. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks - we are just scared if bone has not healed that she could hurt it more. I guess it makes sense about needing blood flow to heal.  I will get her levels tested for sure!!
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  • Posted

    From what I've heard, fifth metatarsal fractures take a bit longer to heal than other bones because there's less blood circulating to that part of the foot, so that might explain why the doctor added another two weeks to the recovery time (I'm currently three and a half weeks into recovering from a 2nd/3rd/4th metatarsal fracture and the doctors told me I was lucky it was only the middle three, as the fifth is the most common and also the most complicated). Broken feet are awful - wishing your daughter all the best in her recovery!

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    • Posted

      Thank you!  He seems surprised that part of the fracture didn't heal. It is more the removal of the walking cast that I was concerned about. She seems to be managing okay - and the physiotherapist  told me that walking on it can bring the blood flow to the injury and help with healing.

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    • Posted

      Yes, I was told to try walking in the boot/walking cast as pain allows for that reason but I'm not game enough to try putting much weight on it yet, so I've mostly just been resting it gently on the floor so far! Maybe next week if I'm feeling brave.

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  • Posted

    My biggest fear of her foot stepped on happened last week!! We got an xray and it appears like everything is still okay - still healing.
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  • Posted

    Update - she is cleared to try dancing again!! Three weeks out of boot - total seven weeks since injury!! I would recommend the bone stimulator to everyone!!
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