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Metatarsal fracture

Causes & Symptoms

How is the metatarsal bone structured?

Your metatarsus is made up of five metatarsal bones that are located between your tarsus and your toes. Together with the tarsal bones, they form what is known as the Lisfranc joint line. Your metatarsal bones are flush with the metatarsophalangeal joints. Metatarsal bones and toes are called the forefoot. The metatarsal bones can move slightly against each other, which allows your forefoot good mobility. This allows him to adapt to bumps while walking and standing.

Causes: How does a metatarsal fracture develop?

Excessive stress on your foot can cause a fatigue fracture. Malpositions of the feet, which constantly overload your forefoot, are another possible trigger. Affected people with low bone density, such as is the case with osteoporosis patients, are also at risk.

If the outer edge of the foot is overloaded, fatigue fractures can also occur in the fifth metatarsal bone. The tendon of the short fibula muscle can tear out at its base. The result is a so-called Jones fracture, a break at the base of the fifth metatarsal bone. This area is the worst to heal on its own due to poor circulation.

If your foot has been run over by a car or twisted in a fall from a great height, a dislocation injury can occur in the area of ​​your Lisfranc joint line. The bases of the metatarsals can break individually, but also as a group. At the same time, your joint capsules can tear out.

Symptoms: signs of a metatarsal fracture

Fatigue fractures can occur, for example, from a long hike or jogging. Swelling, bleeding and considerable discomfort when walking and standing indicate a stress fracture.

If the bleeding is too heavy, blood vessels and nerves can also be pinched off. In the worst case, this can lead to loss of the foot. Therefore, immediate surgical therapy is necessary in the event of symptoms such as circulatory disorders and progressive numbness.


Diagnosis: This is how we diagnose a metatarsal fracture

For an exact diagnosis, our specialists will carry out a thorough physical examination on you. We also take x-rays of your foot.

First, the external examination of your foot takes place

It is important for us to know how the accident came about and what exactly happened. Your physical exam will provide further information: local tenderness, misalignment of your foot, and decreased sensitivity of your foot or toes may indicate the type of injury. If one of your joints is dislocated, we can feel the bone under the skin if necessary.

X-rays help confirm the diagnosis

X-rays show your foot in up to three planes. In this way, we can precisely assess fracture lines and joint positions and make statements about changes in the position of the bones or their position. If it is not just about the extent of the injury, but also about the need for an operation, we also use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT).