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Old 09-24-2008, 04:54 AM   #1
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spiral fracture 5th metatarsal not healing

Hi all, new to this forum but have found it very interesting. Here's my problem: 8 weeks ago I went over on my ankle in my bare feet and heard a popping noise. Almost immediately, my ankle began to swell up and I could not put any weight on it. So, after a trip to A&E it was found that I had a sustained a spiral fracture to my right 5th met but ankle was OK. I was given a post op shoe to wear and told to non weightbear for a week and return to fracture clinic. After a week, was told to keep the shoe on and gradually try to weight bear and return to fracture clinic after 5 weeks. Although no fracture was seen on my ankle, my whole foot became very swollen and bruising was from my toes to halfway up my calf so I suspected that I must have badly sprained my ankle too. Funny thing was though I had very little to mild pain for the first couple of weeks, although it did increase when the swelling began to go down.
When I had my repeat X-ray 6 weeks after injury I was told that the fracture had not healed and was given an airstirrup ankle support and also given exercises to do and to return for another X-ray in 6 weeks time. The thing is though, that although my ankle has got much better, I am now getting more pain at the fracture site. I still can't walk properly and driving is completely out of the question. Has anyone else had this experience and is this level of pain normal? I was kinda hoping that it may be due to the fracture healing but am also worried that I may be doing more damage. Luckily, I do get paid sick because there is no way at the moment I could work - I work in a laboratory and am on my feet all day.

Sorry for the long post but wanted to give as much info as I could. Any advice much appreciated.

 
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Old 09-24-2008, 02:52 PM   #2
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Re: spiral fracture 5th metatarsal not healing

Hi, & welcome. You sure got a few weeks into to this fracture. I have a stress fracture that is not healing too. Spent 3 weeks casted, 2 more in the boot, then ankle supports Don't understand the ankle sports but oh well. The main thing is no matter what you are wearing you can not weight bear at all. I am back to crutches & wheelchair for the next 3 weeks no weight bearing. I don't know why some of us don't heal like the rest who get fractures.
What is a sprial fracture? The pain can be quite nasty at times. And the swelling isn't fun either. I am starting water physical therapy for the foot next week. Per doc orders at least a little exercise is coming my way. keep us posted on how you are doing.

 
Old 09-24-2008, 03:47 PM   #3
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Re: spiral fracture 5th metatarsal not healing

Hi, thanks for the reply. My fracture starts at the top of the bone (by my toe) and is at a 45 degree angle along the bone. Doctor said it wasn't displaced so wouldn't need surgery. Thing is when you read on the internet there are so many conflicting reports regarding management, some say cast, some say weight bear but don't overdo it - what does that mean?? I'm just worried that I may be doing stuff I shouldn't, I can put weight on my foot but couldn't say I was even walking anywhere near normal - more like baby steps is all I can do. I sometimes think that although the staff at fracture clinics are doing the best they can, they don't realise how tough it is getting quite vague advice. As well as that you have all these sports stars with these injuries back in training after 4 weeks - that makes me feel like I'm being a big baby over it and god knows what work are thinking!! Can't wait to get back there though but I know I'll be no use until I'm at least 80% healed. I was given the ankle brace to support the sprain on my ankle that I also got - that has worked but I think the ligaments have gotten so tight now and still sore that this is also stopping me being as mobile as I could be. Waiting for PT appt but have still not heard anything after nearly 2 weeks.
Sounds like I'm a bit lucky though, from what you are saying, stress fractures seem to be a real pain to resolve!

 
Old 09-28-2008, 02:06 PM   #4
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Re: spiral fracture 5th metatarsal not healing

Fractures are from my own experience very slow to heal. And very freustrating. When you get to start PT the excersize will help the muscle and tendons. I am going to a pool to start using the tendons and muscles more. My doc said it easy on the fracture as water keeps you from weight bearing. Will be interesting on how I'm going to get into the pool. I hope yours heals more to the average. Keep on those PT people to get going. The sooner you get those muscles and tendons working the better you'll be. Keep us posted.

 
Old 09-28-2008, 03:26 PM   #5
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Re: spiral fracture 5th metatarsal not healing

Hi, Caz, and welcome to the forum. I've had two stress fractures. Never a 5th, which as Wall says, is the most difficult to heal. I had a 2nd met that took 12 weeks. My concern with your situation is that since it was obviously a severe sprain, you may have soft tissue injury as well as the fracture. Bruising that wide spread indicates a lot of trauma.You won't know if you have done any other damage unless you get an MRI. My question is: is the pain limited to the fracture site? When I had mine I had very specific localized pain. If so, then it most likely is the fracture and a few weeks NWB is in order. In fact I wouldn't weight bear again until it can be looked at by x-ray. On the other hand, if your pain is in the ankle itself, I would seek the opinion of a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon for a possible MRI.

emmie

 
Old 09-29-2008, 01:29 AM   #6
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Re: spiral fracture 5th metatarsal not healing

From what I can understand, I don't have a jones fracture thankfully but a spiral fracture. To be honest, I didn't really have any pain for the first two weeks as the swelling was so severe. After that, more of a deep ache at the fracture sight with much more pain in my ankle. I think that i had/have at 2nd degree sprain but was given no advice for 6 weeks as to how to deal with this. After 6 weeks I was given an airstirrup and exercises which has helped my ankle a lot although I still have little movenment without pain. I have been told to weightbear as these type of fractures need some friction to initiate the healing process. I have noticed that when I have started to weightbear more, I am getting more pain around the fracture site, in fact this morning tried to flex my foot a little more than I have been and the pain was quite severe. Have decided to go to see my GP today if I can get an appt as I don't know if I am doing more harm than good. Will keep you posted on how I get on. Thanks for posting.

 
Old 09-29-2008, 06:33 AM   #7
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Re: spiral fracture 5th metatarsal not healing

Update: Just back from GP surgery and she has asked me to contact my consultant to see if I can bring forward my appt for fracture clinc instead of waiting for another 4 weeks. She reckons that it is just a matter of time before I get more mobile but agrees that I should be looked at sooner. Just wait and see now.

 
Old 09-29-2008, 05:28 PM   #8
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Re: spiral fracture 5th metatarsal not healing

I have not been on the board for quite awhile, but when I saw your post, I just thought I had to respond. I broke my right 5th met. in March '07 and spent 4 months in a cast and 2 months in an aircast boot. My fracture was a true Jones fracture (which typically begins as a stress fracture and become a frank fracture due to trauma). I did not take care of the pain in side of my foot and due to a stumble, ended up with the jones fracture. The primary reason healing is slow is that the circulation to the foot in notoriously poor, especially to the 5th met. I was totally NWB in the cast and did toe movements and kept my foot level with my hips as much as I could to promote better circulation. You might try staying NWB for a couple of weeks and do things to promote circulation thereby speeding healing.

I wish you the best of luck.

 
Old 09-30-2008, 01:42 AM   #9
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Re: spiral fracture 5th metatarsal not healing

hopefully I have a good blood supply as the fracture is closer to my toe and not in the area classified as Jones. It does seem that the way of thinking is to get weight on the foot as soon as possible as this can help the healing process. I am just a little concerned that the pain I am getting due to the fracture not yet being healed but am hoping that it is hurting because it is healing - if you know what I mean. Will hopefully be getting my appt brought forward and will find out when I get another X-ray. Think I am just getting frustrated now after being off work for 8 weeks and going stir crazy in the house! This site is so good at answering questions that somehow the medical profession can't. This is the first time I have ever broken a bone - hopefully it will be the last! Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.

 
Old 09-30-2008, 01:13 PM   #10
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Re: spiral fracture 5th metatarsal not healing

Caz, Two years ago, I had a fusion done on the 1st MTP joint of my right foot. Three weeks after surgery, I was crutching through the garage to take the dog out to do his business and my "good" foot slipped under itself. Much the same as you describe. I broke the 5th metatarsal of my left "good no longer" foot and the same doctor that did my surgery placed THAT foot in a cast. My doctor said this has never happened in his practice. I was then confined to a wheelchair as he said it would heal, without surgery....slowly....two casts for 6-8 weeks, I thought. It took a total of 17 weeks for the 5th metatarsal to heal. The actual name of the fracture was "spiral oblique nondisplaced fracture of the 5th metatarsal". It is also called a "dancer's fracture" in some literature. I was allowed to weight bear as tolerated originally but it was really impossible with the other foot nonweightbearing. The original estimated healing time was 5-6 weeks. Unfortunately for me, the next set of xrays I had done showed that the bones had actually displaced by a few mm. I wore the cast for 12 weeks and then a boot for a few more weeks. It took a LONG time to heal. I don't want to discourage you. I only want you to know that this is a nasty little bone to heal. I wish you the best of luck with your recovery. If I can help in any way, just ask....... Sophie

 
Old 10-01-2008, 04:31 PM   #11
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Re: spiral fracture 5th metatarsal not healing

Sophie, that must have been a nightmare having both feet out of action for so long. Feel like a baby now with my one little fracture. It is a pain but I suppose that time will heal hopefully - I'm just looking forward to getting back to work, although it has been nice being off, it just drives you crazy 'cos you can't do anything of any value. I feel as though i have climbed everest when i manage to a wash load on!! It sounds as though my fracture is the same as the one you had, its amazing the way each hospital/consultant treats these fracture in a different way - some say weight bear, some give a cast or if you are like me a post-op sandal! I suppose they know what they are doing though?? I'm now glad I didn't get a cast as I don't have as much muscle wastage as I would have had in one but was and am really worried about knocking it when moving about. Have just got my first PT appt through, 13th Oct so not too bad - hope that goes well.
Just can't wait to drive again and be a little more independant - I am sure my husband will agree on that point!! He's been really great through this but still feel guilty when he is busy and I'm confined to the sofa! Best wishes, Carol.

Last edited by caz65; 10-01-2008 at 04:35 PM.

 
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