Metatarsal Fractures

Metatarsal fractures are common and need to be evaluated by a foot specialist for an accurate diagnosis, evaluation and appropriate treatment. The metatarsal bones are long bones that connect your toes to your ankle. The help stabilize your foot while you stand and are used when you walk.

Possible Causes

Toe and metatarsal bones are vulnerable to fractures caused by trauma and stress. Metatarsal bone fractures are usually the result the foot being crushed, a heavy object has fallen onto the foot, twisting, or your foot has gotten stuck while your body is still moving. They can also be injured as the result of stress causes by overuse. Long distance running is an example of an activity that could potentially cause a stress injury.

Symptoms Of A Metatarsal Fracture

Signs and symptoms of a fracture can include most commonly includes pain. Pain can occur while standing, during an activity or after an activity. It can also occur when the injured part of the foot is touched. Swelling is also a common symptom. An injured toe may look deformed. Bruising may be apparent if the injury was caused by trauma. A patient may also have a problem bearing weight on an injured foot. Metatarsal fractures caused by direct trauma can be severe and complex.

A patient who has or thinks they have fractured their toe or metatarsal should see a specialist right away. Depending on the severity of the injury, immediate medical attention may be needed to properly treat the injury and to avoid further damage to the foot.


A foot doctor will perform a physical exam and ask about your pain. X-rays are ordered to see if a fracture is present. In some cases a doctor may order additional imaging test depending on where and how severe your injury appears to be, or if they suspect your have a stress fracture and it isn’t indicated on the X-rays. Addition test are more likely to be ordered if the injury occurred as the result of direct trauma.

Treatment For A Metatarsal Fracture

Most metatarsal fractures can be treated without surgery.

If a patient has a stress (hairline) fracture, they will probably require a walking boot or some kind protective footwear. Weight bearing activities should be limited. Rest, elevation and icing are typically recommended to help reduce swelling and allow the foot to heal. A patient may also take Tylenol for any discomfort.

If more than one metatarsal bone has been fractured and your foot is unstable, surgery may be needed. Screws and plates or pins may be used to hold the fractured bones in place while they heal. If the base of a metatarsal bone is fractured it can potentially be part of a Lisfranc injury, which would require surgery. Lisfranc injuries aren’t common.

Schedule An Appointment With A Foot Doctor

The Foot Specialist at The Center For Musculoskeletal Disorders are highly experienced at treating fractures and other injuries. Early treatment for a foot or ankle is recommended to prevent additional pain and further injury.