If you have injured your foot and are feeling foot pain in the outer aspect of your foot, you may have a Jones fracture. This metatarsal fracture occurs commonly in athletes, but can also occur in people who have twisted their foot while walking/running.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about Jones fractures healing time, both with and without surgery. We will also provide tips on how you can speed up the recovery process and how to take care of yourself during the healing period.
What Is a Jones Fracture?
A Jones fracture is a type of metatarsal fracture that occurs in the fifth metatarsal bone on the outer aspect of your foot. A true Jones fracture is a break that occurs at the 5th metatarsal base, where the base of the bone (wider portion) meets the thin part (shaft) of the bone. Unfortunately, this is also the area where the blood supply to the bone is poor.
Due to the poor blood supply in this area, Jones fractures often take longer to heal than other foot fractures.
How Long Do Jones Fractures Take To Heal With Nonsurgical Treatment?
If the Jones fracture is nondisplaced (meaning that the fracture fragments are aligned), it can be treated with immobilization in a cast or cast boot. Following the fracture, the body’s natural healing process will begin immediately to help heal the bone.
The bone will form tissue to bridge the gap between the bone pieces until the bone is fully healed.
A review done by B. Dean et al in Foot and ankle Specialist found that in many cases, the time it took to achieve radiographic union after treating Jones fractures without surgery was 15.9 weeks (1).
Of course, this depends on the patient and their fracture pattern. In some cases, the Jones fracture may heal in 8 weeks, whereas in other cases, it may take much longer. Due to the poor blood supply at the fracture site, the bone typically takes longer to heal than other foot bones.
Jones Fracture Surgery Healing Time
When a Jones fracture surgery is done, your doctor will realign the broken fracture fragments and secure the fracture using plates and screws. This helps strengthen the fracture site and prevents it from re-injuring. In many cases, your doctor will use a bone graft to help fill the gap at the fracture site.
Surgery is often needed when the fracture fragments are displaced (shifted) to ensure that the fracture heals.
Surgery also increases the stability at the fracture site. Due to this, Jones fractures often heal much faster with surgery. In the review done by B. Dean in Foot and Ankle Specialist, they found that healing after surgery occurred in 7.1 weeks (1).
Surgery is a good option for young athletes who must return to their activities quickly.
Tips on How to Speed up Recovery
Increase Vitamin D Intake
Vitamin D is essential because it helps your body absorb calcium. It is important for bone health. Research studies suggest that Vitamin D plays an important role in fracture healing.
Some food sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, tuna, salmon, and fatty fish. Your doctor may recommend that you take a Vitamin D supplement to help speed up your recovery.
Increase Your Calcium Intake
As mentioned previously, calcium is essential for bone health. Foods that contain calcium include dairy products such as yogurt and cheese as well as leafy green vegetables.
Incorporate Foods Into Your Diet That Have a High Magnesium Concentration
Magnesium is a mineral that’s important for bone health and helps regulate calcium metabolism and bone formation. Foods that contain magnesium include almonds, pumpkin seeds, black beans, and lentils.
Avoid Most Anti-inflammatory Foods
Increased inflammation in the body can slow down the healing process. It’s best to avoid sugary snacks and processed foods. Instead, increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.
Follow a Physical Therapy Plan
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help speed up recovery. When it comes to fracture care, physical therapy is quite useful. Physical therapy can help decrease pain, improve balance, and increase strength in your foot/leg.
How Do You Know if the Fracture Is Healing?
As the broken bone heals, you should be experiencing a gradual decrease in pain and discomfort. Another sign that your fracture is healing is that you will be able to bear weight on the foot without experiencing immediate pain.
A reduction in foot swelling is also a good indication that your fracture is healing.
Follow-up Appointments and Advice
It’s important to attend all follow-up appointments with your doctor or surgeon to monitor your healing progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.
If you experience any unexpected symptoms or complications, such as increased pain or swelling, it’s important to contact your doctor right away. Your foot doctor can provide advice on how to manage these symptoms and ensure a smooth recovery process.
In conclusion, Jones fractures are common foot injuries that can be treated with or without surgery depending on the severity of the fracture. While the healing time can vary, it typically takes about six to eight weeks minimum for the fracture to heal.
It’s important to follow proper patient care instructions and rehabilitation, and attend all follow-up appointments with your health care provider to ensure a smooth and successful recovery. With the right care and attention, patients can expect to return to their normal activities with a fully healed foot.
Jones Fracture Diagnosis: How To Identify This Common Foot Injury
Untreated Jones Fractures: Understand the Causes, Symptoms & Risks
Jones Fracture or Peroneal Tendonitis: Understanding Both Foot Injuries
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- Dean BJ, Kothari A, Uppal H, Kankate R. The Jones fracture classification, management, outcome, and complications: a systematic review. Foot Ankle Spec. 2012 Aug;5(4):256-9.https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22547534/
- Gorter EA, Krijnen P, Schipper IB. Vitamin D status and adult fracture healing. J Clin Orthop Trauma. 2017 Jan-Mar;8(1):34-37.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5359504/
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