Metatarsal bones are the long bones found in the foot. There are five metatarsals in each foot, each ending at the bone of the toe. Metatarsals are susceptible to fractures and there are two specific types of fractures common – an acute fracture or a stress fracture. Acute fractures occur due to a direct impact on the bones while stress fractures can happen over time through repetitive motions.
Metatarsal bones are often fractured on the job when something is directly dropped on the foot. Fractures may also occur after the foot suffers a violent or sudden twist. When this occurs, it is usually the 5th metatarsal that is affected and can often have difficulty healing due to poor blood circulation in that region.
After a direct injury to the foot, there will be acute pain in the area that was impacted when a fracture is present. The area will also quickly begin swelling. You will not be able to put any weight on the foot and bruising will appear quickly. In some cases, a fracture of the metatarsals may also cause a deformity.
If you suspect a fracture in your foot, you will need to see a physician as soon as possible so x-rays can be conducted. If the fracture has not resulted in a displacement of bones, a short cast can be used for treatment which will remain on the foot for 3-4 weeks. More complex cases where bones have moved out of place will require a longer period for wearing the cast and in serious injuries surgery may be necessary. It will be important to keep weight off of your injured foot for proper healing of the bones.