Fractures of the 5th Metatarsal

What is a 5th Metatarsal Fracture?
A fracture of the 5th metatarsal is a break in the bone that connects your smallest ("pinky") toe to your foot. These are very common, and the most common kinds of fractures consist of:

  •  The avulsion fracture, in which a small piece of bone is torn away from the main segment of bone by a tendon or ligament. Typically the result of an inversion injury, in which the ankle turns inward, avulsion fractures are commonly overlooked when they occur along an ankle sprain;
  • The Jones Fracture, in which a fracture occurs in a small area of the 5th metatarsal that receives less blood, thereby being more prone to fracturing. These are usually caused by overuse, repetitive stress, or trauma.

Signs and Symptoms
Both avulsion and Jones fractures have the same symptoms, including

  • Pain, swelling, and tenderness on the outside of the foot,
  • Difficulty walking,
  • Possible bruising

If you have the symptoms of a 5th metatarsal fracture, you should see your podiatrist as soon as possible. Your doctor will ask you how the injury occurred or when the symptoms first appeared, as well as examining and pressing on your foot to determine where the pain is located. You should expect the doctor to order x-rays, and because a Jones fracture does not always show up on x-rays, the doctor may order other imaging studies as needed.