Jones fracture surgery is performed as an outpatient surgery. This means that the patient can go home the same day after the surgery.
The surgery involves making an incision in the foot and using screws and plates to stabilize the fracture site. Recovery times can vary. There are risks and potential complications associated with the surgery, such as infection and nonunion of the bone.
This article will explore what a Jones metatarsal fracture is, the surgical process, as well as the expected postoperative course.
What Is a Jones Metatarsal Foot Fracture?
A Jones metatarsal fracture is a break that occurs at the base of the 5th metatarsal. The metatarsal bone is located on the outer side of the foot.
Jones fractures occur due to twisting injuries, direct blows, and falls. In many cases, Jones fractures are seen in athletes who participate in high-impact sports.
It is commonly seen in basketball, football, and soccer. However, it can happen during any activity, including dance.
Some common symptoms of a Jones fracture include pain in the outer portion of the foot, swelling, bruising, and difficulty bearing weight on the foot.
During the time of injury, many people hear a snapping or popping sound in the foot.
When Does a Jones Fracture Require Surgery?
Many Jones fractures can be treated conservatively, meaning that they don’t require surgery. If a Jones fracture is nondisplaced, meaning that the fracture fragments are aligned, immobilization in a cast for 8 weeks or more would be required.
However, if the fracture is displaced, meaning that the fracture fragments are shifted, surgery will be necessary. Displaced fractures do not heal well if they are treated without surgery.
In athletes, surgery may be needed regardless of if the fracture is displaced or nondisplaced. This is because the blood supply in the fifth metatarsal base is poor, and the fracture will take a long time to heal. By surgically repairing the fracture site, athletes can return to sports sooner and recover faster.
What Does a Jones Metatarsal Fracture Surgery Entail?
Surgery for a Jones fracture is done in the outpatient setting under IV sedation or general anesthesia. The patient can go home on surgery day.
During the surgery, the surgeon will make an incision in the foot. The surgeon will then fix the fracture and secure it using plates and screws.
The surgery is performed under fluoroscopic guidance, which allows the surgeon to see the fracture in real time. This ensures that the fracture is adequately repaired.
The surgery will take 1-2 hours to complete.
Postoperative Course After Surgical Treatment
After surgical treatment, the individual will need to follow up with their doctor every 3 to 4 weeks in the office. Your doctor will obtain x-rays during the visits to ensure that the bone is healing properly.
It’s important to understand what to expect during the recovery process.
Day 1 of Surgery
After the surgery, the foot will be wrapped in a cast or cast boot to immobilize the bone. The surgeon will prescribe pain medication to keep the patient comfortable.
The patient will need to elevate and ice the foot to reduce pain and swelling. Some swelling and discomfort are normal. Crutches or a knee scooter will be dispensed to allow the patient to get around.
Day 5 After Surgery
In the first week of surgery, your doctor will remove your surgical bandage and apply a new bandage and cast on your foot.
You will need to remain off of your foot with the help of crutches or a knee scooter.
Your doctor will obtain post-op radiographs in their office to ensure proper alignment of the fracture site and healing.
Day 14 After Surgery
After about two weeks, you will return to the doctor’s office for a follow-up appointment. At this time, the doctor will check the incision site and remove stitches.
You will still need to remain non-weight bearing in a cast or cast boot during this time.
6-8 Weeks After Surgery
Around 6-8 weeks after surgery, your doctor will have you follow up for another foot x-ray. If the fracture is completely healed, your doctor will allow you to walk in regular athletic shoes.
Due to being off of the foot for several weeks, your leg and foot muscles will be weak. Your doctor will instruct you to complete physical therapy to help regain strength and improve mobility in your foot.
Physical therapy will also help improve balance overall foot and ankle range of motion.
Recovery time can vary depending on the severity of the fracture and the patient’s overall health.
In some cases, it can take several months for the bone to fully heal and for the patient to regain full function of the foot.
Complications of Jones Fracture Surgery
Like any surgical procedure, Jones fracture surgery does carry some risks. Complications can occur.
These complications include:
- Infection: There is a risk of infection anytime the skin is broken. If you develop redness, swelling, drainage, and pain at the incision site, it’s important to notify your doctor immediately. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to help clear the infection.
- Blood clots: There is a risk of developing blood clots after the surgery. When surgery requires immobilization, the chances of a blood clot increase. Patients may be given blood thinners to help prevent clots, and they should follow their doctor’s instructions for postoperative care, such as getting up and moving around regularly.
- Hardware problems: In some cases, the screws or pins used to stabilize the bone may become loose, and require removal. If you feel protruding or painful hardware, it’s important to let your doctor know. In these cases, hardware removal would be required.
- Nonunion or malunion: In some cases, the bone may not heal in an appropriate time frame (nonunion) or may heal in the wrong position (malunion). This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as poor blood supply, smoking, and certain medical conditions such as diabetes. If this occurs, additional surgery with the use of bone grafts may be necessary to correct the problem.
It is important to discuss the risks and complications of surgery with your doctor before undergoing the procedure.
Jones fracture surgery is an outpatient procedure that can help patients recover from painful foot injuries. By understanding what the surgery entails, as well as the recovery process, you can be better prepared.
If you think that you might have broken your foot and have sustained a Jones fracture, it’s important to seek medical attention. Contact your local Podiatrist or Orthopedic Surgeon as soon as possible. With early treatment, most individuals can return to their normal activities quickly.
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