Pain when walking after supposed recovery from metatarsal fracture?

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I broke the middle three metatarsals in my right foot just under 8 weeks ago, and had my follow-up appointment a few days ago. The doctor didn't do any X-rays but said the bones seemed to have healed as it didn't hurt when pressure was applied to the fracture site, and that I could start walking in normal shoes instead of the fracture boot. I wasn't referred for physio but I've been doing some exercises I found online, which has helped get back most of the flexibility in my foot. However, I'm still experiencing quite a bit of pain when walking to the point where it's making me limp. I'm fine moving my foot about while sitting and I can comfortably stand with my foot flat on the floor, but when I try to push off on my toes or roll forward in a normal heel-toe walking motion I get sharp aches and pains in a few spots in my foot - it seems to be mostly in the joints rather than the spot where the bones were actually broken. Is this normal, or should I call the fracture clinic and ask for a second opinion? All I seem to read online is stories from people who need multiple surgeries and never fully recover, and it's really getting me down.

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  • Posted

    have you had any X Rays since the original break? They are usually done at 4-6 weeks. Hum I am a retired XRay tech and my husband retired Radiologist. Bones usually heal (if they are going to) at 6 weeks. 
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    • Posted

      Nope - the only X-ray I had was a few days after the injury, when I had the fracture diagnosed. I think the broken bones *are* healing, because the swelling/bruising has gotten a lot better and it doesn't hurt to touch where I broke it even when I press down hard (this is also what the orthopedic doctor said). I'm just worried by how painful it still is to walk - some people say it's normal to have pain when you're getting used to walking again but I'm wondering if there's a problem with my joints that wasn't diagnosed before?

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    • Posted

      I live in the UK - our national health service is underfunded so I feel like they're cutting some corners with treatment! I'm going to see how I manage for the next week or two and then get back in touch with them if it's no better at all. I feel like I should have been referred for physio or given a support brace to go in my shoes or something, at least.

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  • Posted

    I would say it’s normal. There’s going to be a lot of stiffness and soreness in your foot and it’s going to take time to heal. I’d say if it’s not better in the next couple of months, or gets worse, then go back, but I’m afraid feet take a long time to completely heal.  You’ve been in a boot for a long time, so joints in your foot won’t have been used and need easing back into normal use, which will be sore. 

    I’m 11 weeks post-surgery from tarsometatarsal bone fusion surgery to fuse the first, second and third tarsometatarsals together, and my foot is as sore as anything!

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  • Posted

    Hi braginskayas.  If it's any consolation, I broke 4 last year, numbers 2 to 5, and have had a year of different type of discomfort in all parts from the ball of my foot to the ankle depending on what day of the week it was!  (Well, that's how it seemed!)  The difficulty you're mentioning was exactly what I found when I eventually was allowed to walk (5.5 weeks in plaster cast then 4 weeks using an off-loading shoe) and I posted on here to ask how to overcome this as I too was worried that there was something radically wrong due to the aches and pains.  I'll post the link below when I find it but basically, the doctors seem to know when something's ready......I didn't have an x-ray when the cast was removed either.  I did carry on taking calcium tablets and vitamin D and continue to make sure I'm getting enough although it's far too late now! Lol.  Good luck and don't worry!

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    • Posted

      Thanks so much for this! It seems like we have pretty similar injuries (although my 5th metatarsal wasn't broken). It's good to hear you've mostly recovered well - I've been so scared that I might never make a full recovery thanks to all the doom-and-gloom stories online! I didn't expect the rehabilitation process to be as difficult as being immobilised for six weeks - the boot and crutches were tiring and inconvenient but at least I wasn't in much pain! I think I'm going to see how I fare over the next couple of weeks and then look into some physiotherapy sessions if I'm still struggling.

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    • Posted

      Hope it's of some help.  I was in a permanent state of thinking the worst for a long time and found so many awful stories online.  It does get you down mainly because we expect daily improvements instead of maybe a week or more at a time - I now know that progress is slow and that's what's so frustrating and hard to believe when only being immobilised for a short time.  Yes, physio would definitely be a good thing - I didn't have any, just used those bands, a spiky ball to roll under my feet and just kept pushing myself.  Should have gone swimming too as that's great exercise but I didn't.  Think I must have been the world's worst patient!  So difficult when you're dismissed by the doctor and don't have a clue of what to expect.  Anyway, the fact is, you will have a little pain here and there but I'm pretty sure you just need to work through it and you'll be fine.  All the best to you! smile

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