Jones fracture

What is a Jones fracture?

A Jones fracture, also called a fifth metatarsal fracture, is a break near the base of the long metatarsal bone on the outside of the foot. The fracture may be a complete break in the bone, or it may be a thin crack in the bone.

Jones fractures can happen to anyone, but they are especially common in athletes such as football, basketball, or soccer players who twist, change directions, or jump while running.

A Jones fracture may be acute—a break that happens suddenly—or it could be a stress fracture, which occurs gradually over time from repeated stress on the bone.

What are the symptoms of a Jones fracture?

When you have a Jones fracture, you will likely feel a sharp pain on the outside of your foot that makes walking very difficult. You may also notice swelling and discoloration on the outside of the foot.

If you think you have a Jones fracture, you should avoid putting weight on the foot and seek medical care as soon as possible.

How is a Jones fracture treated?

Treatment of a Jones fracture will depend on the type of break in the bone as well as your personal activity goals. The area of the foot where a Jones fracture occurs has limited blood flow, which means the healing time will typically be longer.

Surgery for a Jones fracture

For some people, including high-level athletes who may prefer to return to action sooner, surgery can be a good option. An orthopedic surgeon who specializes in foot injuries may be able to repair the bone surgically, typically using a screw or plates and screws to hold the bone in place as it heals.

After surgery, your return to normal activity will be gradual, with a rehabilitation plan of exercises to restore strength and mobility to the foot, which may be placed in a protective boot for a period of time following surgery.

Jones fracture treatment without surgery

Nonsurgical care for a Jones fracture may involve wearing a cast or boot and walking with crutches until the bone heals. The healing period can range from six weeks to a few months.  Ice can be used to reduce swelling and over-the-counter medicine to relieve pain.

To return to normal activity, you will be given a rehabilitation plan that includes stretches and strengthening exercises.

Your doctor will help you decide your treatment option. The foot and ankle experts at UI Sports Medicine have extensive experience treating Jones fractures in patients who range from weekend warriors to high-performing college athletes. They can help you choose the treatment plan that’s right for you.

Last reviewed: 
July 2020

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