We see many Jones fractures in our practice and you may be wondering what type of injury this is. To answer the question, a Jones fracture is a foot injury involving one of the metatarsals, those long bones in the foot that connect to the toe bones. In this case, the bone affected is the fifth metatarsal bone that attaches to the little toe along the outside of the foot. For this reason, a Jones fracture is also known as a fifth metatarsal fracture.
Who was Jones?
A Jones fracture is named after Sir Robert Jones, an orthopedic surgeon, who in 1902 noticed the injury on himself while he was dancing. Born in 1857 in Wales, Robert Jones helped establish orthopedics as a surgical specialty. He also dedicated himself to the treatment of children with deformities and adults with disabilities and worked to remove the stigma society placed on such individuals. You can read more about this influential and interesting man by clicking here.
What Causes a Jones Fracture?
A Jones fracture is typically the result of twisting forces on the foot. It can happen from sudden trauma to the foot, such as a turned ankle, or develop gradually over time as a hairline fracture. It can occur when just walking (or dancing as with Jones), or when jumping or running. This type of injury often affects people with high arches.
Who Gets a Jones Fracture?
This is a very common fracture in athletes and costs many pros lost playing time. At first, the injury might be mistaken for a simple ankle sprain, because the fracture happens at the base of the bone close to the ankle. However, a Jones fracture has much more serious implications than a sprained ankle. Such well-known NBA players as Kevin Durant have had a lot of problems with a Jones fracture.
What are the Symptoms of a Jones Fracture?
- Pain or chronic ache on the outside of the midfoot.
- Tenderness when the affected area is pressed.
- Bruising and swelling of the affected area.
- Difficulty bearing weight or walking on the foot.
What is the Treatment for a Jones Fracture?
- Immobilization – In order to heal, a Jones fracture must be protected from weight-bearing activities for an extended period of time. Pressure may be diverted from the area of the fracture by means of a protective boot, cast, or stiff-soled shoe. However, crutches will also be necessary to keep weight off the foot completely. A minor fracture will take six to eight weeks to heal.
- Medication – Anti-inflammatories may be prescribed to help reduce swelling and pain while the fracture heals.
- Surgery – A severe Jones fracture can take a long time to heal, and in such a case, surgery may be required. Jones fracture surgery typically involves the placement of screws or plates to hold the bone in place. Also, bone grafts are sometimes necessary.
- Physical therapy – Finally, a period of physical therapy may be helpful to improve walking functions and to learn ways to avoid overstressing the healing bone.
Can a Jones Fracture Happen Again?
Yes, it’s not uncommon for a Jones fracture to reoccur, so it’s essential to keep weight off the injured food for the period stipulated by your podiatrist. In addition, it’s necessary to wait to resume normal activities until given the all clear following a post-surgery x-ray.
When Should I See a Podiatrist?
If you think you have an ankle sprain, but a few days of rest, ice, and elevation hasn’t worked, seek medical attention. The main problem with a Jones fracture is that it disrupts the blood supply to the affected area. This prevents proper healing from taking place. At Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle, one of our specialties is the treatment of Jones fractures. We will determine the severity of the break and will put you on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.