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Old 12-05-2009, 04:12 PM   #1
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Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

So on October 30th, I fell down some stairs and ended up landing on a twisted foot, which broke the fifth metatarsal bone (bone that goes down to the pinkie toe) and also sprained a ligament that goes down to that bone. I've been on crutches since that weekend (5 weeks now), and I've gotten to the point where I can do some partial weightbearing and even some walking without the crutches altogether, but I still have to go back to using the crutches often because of pain.

The hospital orthopedist I've been seeing has been very unhelpful. He basically called me a baby the last time I went in two weeks ago, just because I wasn't walking on it yet (it was MUCH too painful. I just started walking on it occasionally last week). He wouldn't address the issue of my shoulders getting strained from the crutches--he just told me i should be using my foot more. He made me try walking on it (which hurt) and told me I should try walking in a regular shoe instead of the walking cast that I've had since I first saw him. I can't put ANY pressure on my foot without the aircast, because it's much too painful and my foot's really weak and won't hold any weight (which I'm assuming the weakness is from disuse over the past 5 weeks and not being used to having weight put on it).

The bruising on my foot is just starting to go away; I still have a dark bruise down where the break is, but I've also had this horrible blue-green bruise for weeks now up near my pinkie toe and the one next to it. It hurts if I press on it, and the bruise still isn't going away. When I pointed it out to the orthopedist, he just said "hm," and ignored it. Someone said it might be the aircast, but if I try sleeping without the aircast, the bruise gets worse. It's darker when I wake up the next morning if I didn't sleep with the cast.

And the pain down where the broken bone is is getting worse. I've been walking on it sans crutches for about 2 hours a day or less all week, and using crutches either completely or for partial weightbearing the rest of the time. My foot was less painful, but it's been horrible the past few days, cramping nonstop, sharp pain where the bone is, etc. I'm not sure what this is from-i've never broken anything in my foot before, so I don't know if this is normal for beginning to walk on it or not.

When I went to the orthopedist two weeks ago, I was still in a LOT of pain, and he told me that I shouldn't be in that much pain. I basically had to get into an argument with him to convince him that I was, in fact, still in a lot of pain, even when I wasn't moving my foot at all. He told me I shouldn't be, so I should be taking more vicodin. I'm a student--I can't take the pain meds during the day because they affect my concentration.

He also told me that if i don't start using it now, i'm going to end up with osteoporosis in my foot and I'll be crippled forever. And that i shouldn't worry about doing more damage to my foot by walking on it, so just to ignore any pain I do have from walking on it.

So what IS normal for a broken foot? They told me it was a minor break, simple, even though it went all the way through, and that it just missed the area of low blood circulation so it shouldn't be taking long to heal, but the orthopedist is being no help and basically bullying me, so I'm not sure what I should be doing--should I keep walking on it every day if it's hurting this much? Is this normal? How long does a broken foot usually hurt? I keep hoping to get off of the crutches soon, but I can't even walk on it for more than an hour or two at a time without it becoming very unbearable. Any suggestions?

I also posted this in the broken bones board, but I figured there might be more people here who've had metatarsal fractures.

Thanks .

 
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Old 12-05-2009, 06:03 PM   #2
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Re: Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

I broke my 5th met. in March 07 and was in a cast until the middle of July and aircast from then to the middle of October. I had a 5th met. fracture that is called a "jones fracture". It was the most painful experience when walking on it. As long as I was off it, I had no pain. I was put on crutches immediately at the urgent care until I saw a foot and ankle surgeon (he is the team physician for the Miami Heat pro. basketball team) who told me the serious nature of the the fracture and put me in a fiberglass cast to my knee. You may want to be seen by a foot specialist--most orthopods do not often see 5th met fractures. Depending where the fracture is on the bone, healing can progress or be very slow. A fracture of the 5th met can be the slowest healing fracture one can experience due to poor blood circulation in a specific location on the 5th met.

I, too, had a bruise on the side of my foot, but since I was in a cast, I did not seen my foot for 6 weeks before I got a new cast. I was totally non-weight bearing until end of July, beginning of August. I was told that if I was in pain, then to stop what I was doing. Pain is an indication of a problem. If the doc is telling you to walk and you are in pain, it seems to me he may not understand the significance of the fracture. Again, I would see another doc who has experience with 5th met fractures. If a doc tells you that non-use will make you cripple, I would get myself to a specialist in the foot ASAP.

I would urge you to limit walking on it as much as possible, using crutches, etc. and to keep the aircast on to limit movement, until you can see another doc for a second opinion. You can do a search on this site for previous posts about 5th met fractures and read others' experiences.

Keep us posted on your progress. I valued the support given here when I was struggling with limited mobility--it may help you as well.

Lisa

 
Old 12-05-2009, 06:17 PM   #3
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Re: Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

Thanks for answering so quickly . Yeah, I plan on getting a second opinion. The ER doctor told me it was a Jones fracture, but then the ortho told me it was an avulsion fracture. I've looked at pictures of Jones fractures, and it seems that mine's more in the place of where a Jones fracture is supposed to be, because I remember it wasn't completely at the bottom of that little bone that protrudes a little from the side of the foot. So I'm wondering if he's telling me the wrong thing to begin with. I've heard Jones fractures heal more slowly than Avulsion fractures, which, if mine is a Jones fracture, could be why it's taking so long to get better.

And yeah, the doctor definitely told me "You just have to deal with the pain. You shouldn't be in pain when you're not even moving it, and if you walk on it and you're in pain, you're not going to injure your foot more so don't think that you can get away with not putting weight on it." I really have the impression that he has no idea what he's talking about. I have a friend who's studying to be a PT, and she told me to get off it right away if it's hurting when I walk on it.

Unfortunately my school semester doesn't end for another week, and then I have a week of finals, so I'm hoping that when I go home I'll be able to find a doctor back home who can help, and who knows more about foot fractures. To be honest, I have kindof been cheating and walking on it some even when it hurts...which probably doesn't help matters.

 
Old 12-05-2009, 06:40 PM   #4
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Re: Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

I was told that a jones fracture will not heal if weight bearing continues at all until some calcification fills in at least 2/3 of the fracture. Weight bearing puts pressure in the location of the break that keeps the ends of the bones from knitting together. IMHO, I think seeing a specialist who understands the nature and severity of the jones fracture is important. The more you stay off it the better. Many jones fractures do not heal without surgery and I wanted to avoid that so I stayed completely off it for months--yes it was a pain in the rear--but I managed to avoid any surgery at all. If you do not keep a jones fracture stable, surgery could be in the picture. I am a high school teacher and it was a challenge to keep working, manage my family, but I did not want surgery, so I kept totally off it. See if you can do that as much as is possible. The pain is telling you the ends of the bone are moving and that is not a good thing.

 
Old 12-05-2009, 06:45 PM   #5
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Re: Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

I don't know where you are going to school, but if there is any kind of a sports medicine program get over there. The sports med orthopedists are about the best you can find for feet. At your age you want it fixed correctly or you will be in pain forever. It took me 40 years to find my doc at the Univ of Iowa and he is the sports med head. Other orthopedic surgeons just told me to live with it, or plan on being in a wheel chair in a few years. They seem to be versed on replacing knees and hips. Feet are a big deal. Good luck.
Peg

 
Old 12-05-2009, 07:16 PM   #6
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Re: Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

It's just irritating, because I was in relatively little pain a week ago, which is why I started walking on it some, and everyone keeps telling me "oh, you just need to get your foot used to walking," but I think the pain should be getting better, not worse. I expected it to hurt when I started using it again, but it's gotten worse and worse every day this week.

And Pegret, the only medical school near me is UMass Medical, which, incidentally, is where I've been going. I don't know if they have a different department specifically for sports medicine or not, or if they just refer all patients to the orthopedist, but i've looked the doctor up and he specializes in joints, so I'm guessing they really didn't send me to the right one.

There are several sports medicine clinics back home, though, at least two that I know of just in my town, so I'm going to call them when I get back and see how quick I can get in. I know one of them's supposed to be pretty bad, though, so I'll have to check around and see which one is supposed to be pretty good. If the orthopedist was right about all of this, then I should be almost fine by now, not still struggling just to put weight on my foot.

 
Old 12-06-2009, 04:26 AM   #7
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Re: Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

I would advise you to call now for an appointment in your home town.
I had both the first and fifth met cut and pinned for bunion surgery. I had no idea the fifth met. would be the one to be slow healing. It took a long time for the new growth, at three mos. the x-ray looked like the bone was still broken
(though my pod insisted it was filling in, and it did). My break was a clean cut and I understand a Jones fracture is much more complicated, so I agree with the other respondents, to stay off the foot and get a second opinion as soon as possible. Hope you find relief soon. Good luck.

 
Old 12-06-2009, 03:20 PM   #8
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Re: Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janesfoot View Post
I would advise you to call now for an appointment in your home town.
I had both the first and fifth met cut and pinned for bunion surgery. I had no idea the fifth met. would be the one to be slow healing. It took a long time for the new growth, at three mos. the x-ray looked like the bone was still broken
(though my pod insisted it was filling in, and it did). My break was a clean cut and I understand a Jones fracture is much more complicated, so I agree with the other respondents, to stay off the foot and get a second opinion as soon as possible. Hope you find relief soon. Good luck.
Yeah, the ortho told me that the bone was healing, because the line of the fracture wasn't as noticable the second time around, but it didn't really feel like it was any better, so I really don't know why it wasn't feeling better if it was healing fine.

 
Old 12-07-2009, 09:03 PM   #9
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Re: Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

Sorry to hear about your foot. I too broke my 5th metatarsal bone falling down some stairs. I broke my bone on 10/22, going on 7 weeks. Based on my diagnosis, my foot doctor had me in a standard hard cast for 6 weeks, non-weight bearing. He just changed it to an air cast, which he instructed me to not put any weight on my foot for another 3 weeks, then after that we wants to have me walk with the air cast for 3 more weeks. Total 12 weeks in all. It's been frustrating, but I have to say, keeping my weight off the foot for the past 7 weeks has enabled my foot to heal properly. My doctor said some doctors have people put weight on their broken foot too soon and that only causes longer healing and possible break again. If you are in Western Mass, I can recommend my foot doctor. He is awesome. Good luck, and hang in there!

 
Old 12-07-2009, 11:23 PM   #10
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Re: Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

I didn't break my metatarsal this time, (I had a stress fracture in the 2nd back in Jan of this year) I fell down the stairs and got an avulsion fracture of my talus and a grade 3 sprained ankle on Halloween. I am still using crutches, at 5 weeks out, and my ortho was upset with me too. My ortho specializes in podiatry, so I would assume he knows what he is talking about. At my visit last week he told me "people who break their ankles in car accidents are farther along than you" pain wise. I cannot put all my weight on it without pain. I get to go see a pain management specialist now. I have been out of work since the fall and cannot go back until I am able to wear a shoe on my foot. I am in a boot (camwalker), had no surgery, and still need pain meds when I have been up all day. I still have problems with swelling, and now have a nerve problem, thanks to a cortisone shot that was supposed to help. I understand how frustrating it is to hear your dr not believe you. I agree with the others, to get a second opinion. I have tried to do that, but don't have insurance so it is too expensive; and in a way the pain management dr is like a second opinion. I wish you the best and happy healing. Also there is a website I go to called mybrokenleg that has been very helpful. You can rant and vent and everyone there knows what you are going through. They are like teammates, cheering for a healthy recovery for everybody. Hope this helps.

 
Old 12-09-2009, 05:26 AM   #11
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Re: Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

Thanks for the replies. I've decided to go to the same practice I went to when I injured my arm a few years back. The paperwork's going to be sent out today--I can only hope that the hospital I've been going to cooperates enough to send my records to the new doctor, since they won't make an appointment until they see the doctor's notes (something about not knowing which doctor to give me to). So hopefully once they see that, I'll be able to get in relatively quick.

The ligament that I sprained is actually still hurting, too, so hopefully I'll be able to find out whether or not that's part of why it's not healing all the way. The nurse at my college said it'd probably help if I got an MRI, since there's obviously either some damage aside from the break that they didn't catch, since they only gave me an xray, or just something keeping the bone in pain.

Who knows. Hopefully I'll get some answers from the new doctor. I know I can't possibly get any worse than with the ortho I've been seeing.

 
Old 12-11-2009, 04:37 PM   #12
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Unhappy Re: Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

hows the foot healing im a mum of 2 and im totally freaked out by this broken bone thing,i broke my 1st and another metatarsal in my foot 5 weeks ago, the 1st 2 weeks i was in plaster than they x rayed me again and put me in an air cast,that was bliss as i could have a bath,they told me not to but how do they exspect you not to wash,then i had a ct scan and told me i was lookin good and the brake had healed but in the next breath he said i would have to have a cast again,i said no because im sure you feel when u have kids to look after theres no way you can say come on my love get away from that plug socket mummys got a broken foot,so ive got the air cast and been walking on my heel if i have to,ive just been on the internet though and totally freaked myself out really about blood clots and more horrible things hope you are healing well xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 
Old 05-27-2010, 08:57 AM   #13
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Re: Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

I broke my 5th met also. but had no pain at all. In fact i thought that my foot just popped like it normally did, so i finnished out the soccer practice. I didnt even begin to thing it was broken until i got up the next morning and my foot was swolen and sort of purple. I dont understand why you all are having so much pain with this fracture. I havent had an ounce of pain since the day after i broke it. Im begginning to think that i should be having some pain now..any clues as to why i have none?

 
Old 05-31-2010, 04:21 PM   #14
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Re: Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

I didn't have a lot of pain after they put me in the boot, it was sore and I didn't try and walk with out the boot. I find that without the boot,I forget that it is just healed. I way overdid it yesterday. I had sandles on all day - they wer supportive, but not enought- lesson learned - need to take it a little slower. Be happy for no pain.

 
Old 06-01-2010, 05:32 PM   #15
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Re: Broken fifth metatarsal -- is this normal?

im afraid thats what im going to do if i get out of the boot. I'v very energetic and athletic and not being able to run is killing me. How do i know when my foot is good enough for me to start training again? I'm afraid ill just be happy to have to boot off and rush back into my training...:s

 
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