What are Jones Fractures?
A Jones fracture occurs when there is a break between the base and the shaft of the fifth metatarsal bone in your foot. This is a small region that receives limited blood supply and is prone to fracture. The fifth metatarsal is a long bone that is located on the outside of your foot and connects to the smallest toe. There are five metatarsal bones in each foot and the fifth is the one which is more commonly fractured.
Jones fractures are named after Sir Robert Jones who was an orthopaedic surgeon in 1902. He was the one to report his own injury and the injury of his patients whom he treated. Jones fracture is a common type of metatarsal fracture.
What are the Causes of Jones Fractures?
A Jones fracture may occur due to the following reasons:
- Trauma due to an accident or sports injury
- Poor bone health such as weak and fragile bone
- Overuse or repetitive motion resulting in a stress fracture which is common in athletes
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Jones Fractures?
Jones fractures may have the following signs and symptoms:
- Pain in the foot
- Swelling and tenderness around the fractured area
- Bruise, wound, or bleeding
- Foot or ankle deformity
- Difficulty in moving the foot and ankle
How are Jones Fractures Diagnosed?
Your doctor will inspect and palpate your foot and ankle and enquire how the foot injury occurred. Based on your symptoms, a bone X-ray will be ordered. In some cases, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or a CT (contrast tomography) scan may also be recommended to confirm a Jones fracture.
What are the Treatment Options for Jones Fractures?
A Jones fracture can be treated through a combination of conservative approach and surgery.
Conservative approach includes pain management and immobilization. Pain medications and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are used to relieve pain and inflammation. The fractured foot may be immobilized using a cast or brace. This improves the rate of bone healing.
Conservative treatment may take more time to heal. You may be required to keep your leg immobilized and avoid putting any weight on the injured foot for 2 to 5 months.
Surgery is recommended for severe Jones fractures and those which fail to heal by conservative management. Surgical procedure involves placing the broken bones into their original place and fixing them using metal plates, rods, and screws. The common types of fracture surgery include:
- External fixation: In external fixation, pins are inserted into the broken bone above and below the damaged area and those pins are connected to a metal bar outside the skin using screws.
- Internal fixation: In internal fixation, rods are inserted into the centre of the bone.
- Open reduction: In open reduction process, the bone fragments are fastened together using metal plates and screws on the outer surface of the bone.
Recovery after Surgery for Jones Fracture
Your recovery depends on the severity of the Jones fracture, your overall health, and the treatment method used.
- You may be required to wait for 1 to 2 weeks before putting up weight on the injured foot.
- You may be prescribed orthotic shoes to aid in healing of the Jones fracture in the affected foot.
- You may be required to wait for 3 to 4 months before returning to regular activities, including sports.
What are the Risks and Complications of Surgery for Jones Fracture?
Surgery for Jones fracture may have certain risks and complications. These include:
- Bones may take longer to heal
- Muscle atrophy
- Persistent pain
- Nerve damage
How to Prevent Jones Fractures?
The following measures may help prevent the risk of Jones fractures:
- Wear proper shoes and supportive gear to prevent foot injuries while riding or doing certain strenuous tasks
- Eat a nutritious diet rich in vitamin D and calcium
- Perform regular weight-bearing exercises