What Is a Jones Fracture?

Foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons shed light on this common and complicated foot injury

Rosemont, Ill., Nov. 29, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A Jones fracture is a break at the base of the fifth metatarsal, the bone on the outer side of the foot. Though it is a common injury for anyone, many athletes including football players are at a higher risk because of the regular stress they put on that area. Foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons explain the symptoms, treatment, and outlook for athletes.

“Fifth metatarsal fractures occur quite often when you ‘roll your ankle’ or foot, and can occur anywhere along the metatarsal,” explains Damien A. Richardson, MD, MPH, a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon at St. Jude Heritage Medical Group in California. “A fracture that occurs close to the base as it transitions into the longer and more narrow shaft of the bone is called a Jones fracture. In 1902, Sir Robert Jones was first to describe this unique fracture that is harder to heal compared to other fractures we see on different parts of the metatarsal.”

Symptoms

Common symptoms of a Jones fracture are acute pain, bruising, and swelling on the outside of the foot, accompanied by difficulty walking. Jones fractures can happen to anyone, but they are often seen in sports that involve placing force on the foot while pivoting and changing direction.

Treatment

Treatment for a Jones fracture can be surgical or non-surgical. Non-surgical treatment involves several weeks of limiting weight on your foot and keeping it in place using a splint, cast, or boot.

If the Jones fracture does not heal or is reinjured after non-surgical treatment, your foot and ankle surgeon may recommend surgery. Surgical treatment is also common for high-level athletes who wish to return to play sooner. One popular surgical technique is to place a screw lengthwise within the bone using an X-ray machine to guide the placement. The screw brings the fractured ends together to stabilize the fracture while it heals.

Return to Activity

Most Jones fractures will heal after 12 weeks with appropriate treatment. Once X-ray images and the surgeon’s exam show signs of healing, patients are transitioned back to activities, typically while undergoing physical therapy, explains Dr. Richardson.

According to a review featured in Foot & Ankle International (FAI), return to play following surgical treatment of Jones fractures in athletes is excellent. The time it took to return to play for the group treated with surgery was an average of 9.6 weeks, compared to an average of 13.05 weeks for the group treated non-surgically.

To learn more about Jones fractures and other foot and ankle conditions, symptoms, and treatment, visit FootCareMD.

About Foot and Ankle Orthopaedic Surgeons

Foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons are medical doctors (MD and DO) who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries of the foot and ankle. Their education and training consist of four years of medical school, five years of postgraduate residency, and a fellowship year of specialized surgical training. These specialists care for patients of all ages, performing reconstructive surgery for deformities and arthritis, treating sports injuries, and managing foot and ankle trauma.

About the AOFAS

The American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) mobilizes our dynamic community of foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons to improve patient care through education, research, and advocacy. As the premier global organization for foot and ankle care, AOFAS delivers exceptional events and resources for continuous education, funds and promotes innovative research, and broadens patient understanding of foot and ankle conditions and treatments. By emphasizing collaboration and excellence, AOFAS inspires ever-increasing levels of professional performance leading to improved patient outcomes. For more information visit the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society online at aofas.org.

CONTACT: Christine Petrucci American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) 847-430-5127 cpetrucci@aofas.org