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  • Broke 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Metatarsals !

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    Old 06-18-2009, 05:34 PM   #1
    Dave50
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    Broke 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Metatarsals !

    About 3 weeks ago I broke my first thru fourth Metatarsals; 3 of which were severely displaced. I had to wait 10 days before surgery to allow the swelling to go down. (Those were 10 miserable days)

    Today it has been 2 weeks since my surgery. I have a plate with 6 screws on the 1st, and long pins through the center of 2nd and 3rd that exit under my toes. The 4th (pulverized at the base) was left to heal on it’s own.

    I sympathize with those who say they are going crazy with frustration. I am normally very active and cannot sit still, so being confined to a recliner with my feet up on 4 pillows is driving me nuts after only 2 weeks! My foot hurts when I get up or stand for too long and it’s still quite swollen. I know that I have a long road ahead.

    I have to say that my doctor too told me from the get-go that it would be 6 to 8 weeks for recovery. However, it seems that virtually all of the folks posting on this board are claiming that even after 12 weeks, pain levels are still high and many still cannot bear even partial weight. I suppose it depends on many factors…. degree of fracture, age, health, habits, PT, etc.

    What concerns me is that most metatarsal fractures mentioned in these posts are one bone… usually the 5th. With 4 of my 5 broken, I fear it could be many many months before I can walk again, at least without pain.

    Has anyone else out there broken more than a few metatarsals and, if so, how did your healing process go? Any advice for me?

     
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    Old 06-18-2009, 08:44 PM   #2
    janewhite1
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    Re: Broke 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Metatarsals !

    Okay, the fact that you had surgery right away means that your healing shouldn't take as long as, say, folks who waited a couple months to try healing without surgery first. It also depends on the location of the fracture, certain parts of the metatarsals, especially the 5th metatarsal head, have very poor blood supply and therefore delayed healing.

    Also, you are right. Age is a factor, smoking and taking steroid medications can also severely impede bone healing. Make sure you are eating properly, too, inactivity, pain, and pain meds can suppress your appetite.

    Keep doing what you've been doing, keep the foot propped up, and wait and see what the x-rays at your next follow-up show.

     
    Old 06-19-2009, 06:41 AM   #3
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    Re: Broke 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Metatarsals !

    Thanks. Except for when I go to the bathroom, my foot is normally propped up. My boss would like to see me back at work and I don't know if it's too soon to go back. (2-3 weeks) It's a desk job, but still I would have to get a ride there, bring all of my pillows, and sit in a somewhat uncomfortable chair. Very unlike the relative comfort I have in my home recliner.
    I may go back this Monday and try it just for a few hours. I don't believe my boss, or anyone else for that matter, understands how serious my multiple fractures are and how much the foot hurts when I move around.

     
    Old 06-20-2009, 05:32 PM   #4
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    Re: Broke 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Metatarsals !

    Hi Dave,

    I can almost feel your pain! I broke my 5th met. on my rt. foot in 2007 in Hollywood, not far from you! Your story brings me back to some of my issues. I remember seeing my foot/ankle specialist and having him tell me that I would be better off had I broken the other met. 1-4 as they would heal faster than the 5th met. where I had broken it. You should heal quickly as long as you do things that promote good circulation: keeping your foot up or level as much as possible, icing to minimize swelling and moving your toes regularly to keep circulation flowing. Whatever you do, follow the docs directions for weightbearing to the letter.
    I continued working all the while because to just sit around drove me crazy. I rented a wheelchair and used the raised leg to help keep my foot elevated so I could be mobile and still work--I am a high school teacher. My arm muscles got quite a work out. I left the chair at school and used crutches at home on the evenings and weekends. If I had a someplace to go, like Little League games, I brought it home with me. Make sure that if anyone offers you assistance, you take them up on the offer. Let people help you and do not be afraid to ask for help if you feel you need it. I struggled with my lack of independence and it was quite the challenge for me to admit I needed help and to ask for it.
    As for your concern that your employer does not understand the magnitude of this injury and your situation, I truly believe that we all take our feet for granted and we think that life can be perfectly normal if we have something wrong--it is not until we personally experience the limitations, that we REALLY understand. I had to have my doc send a letter outlining all my limitations and the significance of the injury and the risks to my foot if I did not follow the treatment protocol to the letter--it also stated that if my school administration did not make accomodations, they would be in violation of the Amer. with Disab. Act.
    One other thing you might consider is to apply for a handicap permit for a car--you can get a temporary permit for a few dollars by having your doc sign an application. It will make parking, even for a few minutes more convenient for you and anyone who drives you.

    Just my thoughts!! I hope your healing goes well. Stay in touch on this board--I found it most helpful during my recovery and PT.

    Lisa

     
    Old 06-21-2009, 08:12 AM   #5
    Dave50
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    Re: Broke 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Metatarsals !

    Thanks Lisa. I appreciate your advice.
    So how long was it from the time of break until the day you could walk again without pain? Are you 100% normal now?

     
    Old 06-21-2009, 08:55 AM   #6
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    Re: Broke 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Metatarsals !

    I am 100% normal now. I was in a cast from March 1 until July 9 and then a walking boot from then until Oct. 16th. All in 2007. I was totally non-weightbearing from March until mid-July. You can look back at my posts here, but I believe that you will heal much more quickly than I did--I had a jones fracture and that is the slowest healing fracture there is. I also did not have surgery. I chose to try to avoid that and see if I could heal on my own. It was a success, but that was not guaranteed going into it. The bones you broke, I believe have much better circulation to help in healing--the 5th met does not.
    As for pain, I really did not have much pain--even when I broke it, the pain was minimal except when I put weight on it immediately after I stumbled. Once it was immobilized, there was no pain. My fracture was not a complete one-it only went about 2/3 through the bone. I did have a ton of swelling and so for the first 6 weeks, I got a new cast weekly.

     
    Old 06-27-2009, 03:10 PM   #7
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    Re: Broke 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Metatarsals !

    I've been doing some reading and talking with my Doctor. While it's true that the 5th metatarsal receives the least blood circiulation, it almost always heals better than fractures of the middle metatarsal shafts... especially mine since they were very displaced and held in fixation by pins. I met with the surgeon this week (3 weeks post-op) and the latest x-rays show NO UNION yet.

    I am a bit concerned that after 3 weeks there is no visible healing going on. The gaps between the fractures show no cartilage forming. I go back in 3 more weeks for more x-rays. Sure hope the healing starts!!

    Last edited by Dave50; 06-27-2009 at 03:10 PM.

     
    Old 06-27-2009, 04:13 PM   #8
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    Re: Broke 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Metatarsals !

    I don't know if this will help, but my fifth metatarsal did not show union at 12 wks after surgery (osteotomy with temporary pin). I has gone to my pcp for a bone spur at the surgery site, I had already been discharged by my pod. When my pcp saw the x-ray he told me the spur was the least of my problems, that my foot was broken! My poor pcp was beside himself, but my podiatrist reassured him and me that my bone was healing correctly, and cartilage was forming. My surgery was in May 2008. I'm doing great now. I was doing aerobics at five months, and had been walking for exercise at four months after surgery. It takes time, but you will heal. Good luck.

     
    Old 06-27-2009, 05:32 PM   #9
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    Re: Broke 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Metatarsals !

    Pain Update: After 3 weeks I am off of the Percocets! While there is still some pain when up and about for a period of time, it's not bad enough where I feel I need to take the pills anymore.
    I hope that by putting my foot down more often, more blood will flow and the healing process will hasten.

    Last edited by Dave50; 06-27-2009 at 06:03 PM. Reason: To avoid duplication.

     
    Old 06-27-2009, 06:08 PM   #10
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    Re: Broke 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Metatarsals !

    That is encouraging - thank you! I also have a feeling that during the first few weeks when one's foot is elevated above the heart, there's probably not a lot of blood flow to the foot area. Even though I feel pressure / swelling when my foot is down for a period of time, I am thinking that it's probably a good thing to have that blood rushing down to my foot... I think it's exactly what is needed to carry oxygen and nutrients to the fractures. I don't think keeping the foot elevated help the healing process??

     
    Old 06-27-2009, 07:13 PM   #11
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    Re: Broke 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Metatarsals !

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Janesfoot View Post
    I don't know if this will help, but my fifth metatarsal did not show union at 12 wks after surgery (osteotomy with temporary pin). I has gone to my pcp for a bone spur at the surgery site, I had already been discharged by my pod. When my pcp saw the x-ray he told me the spur was the least of my problems, that my foot was broken! My poor pcp was beside himself, but my podiatrist reassured him and me that my bone was healing correctly, and cartilage was forming. My surgery was in May 2008. I'm doing great now. I was doing aerobics at five months, and had been walking for exercise at four months after surgery. It takes time, but you will heal. Good luck.
    Hope I don't sound dumb, but could you clarify what "PCP" and "POD" stand for? So far, I've only seen what I call an orthopedic surgeon. Thanks!

     
    Old 06-28-2009, 06:36 AM   #12
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    Re: Broke 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Metatarsals !

    Sorry. Primary Care Physician (PCP) and Podiatrist (POD).

     
    Old 06-28-2009, 06:43 AM   #13
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    Re: Broke 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Metatarsals !

    Regarding elevation, I didn't ever elevate above my heart, but did elevate
    above the hip. I didn't have a lot of swelling and I consider myself fortunate.
    Every body reacts to trauma and heals differently. Listen to your body.

     
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