What is a Dancers fracture?
A fracture is a ‘break in the bone’. A fracture of the base of the fifth ray of the foot (also called the metatarsal base) is a common injury of the foot.
What are the symptoms of a fifth metatarsal base fracture?
Pain and swelling at the outer border of the foot overlying the base of the fifth ray immediately following an injury is common. Difficulty with walking is another complaint patients often experience. In some cases the symptoms gradually get worse, as patients feel they have suffered a trivial sprain, without realising that there has been a fracture.
How is the fracture diagnosed?
A clinical examination and Xrays are necessary. In some fractures a CT scan may be required to further study the fracture pattern if surgery is required
What treatment options are there?
The treatment depends on the type of fracture. Most of these fractures can be managed without surgery. The fracture pattern and where the fracture line is, determines whether the fracture will successfully heal without any intervention. Usually a stiff sole shoe and limited weight bearing for a period of 6 weeks is sufficient. If the fracture line is more distal, there is a risk of non union (fracture not healing completely). In these circumstances, surgery may be advisable. Mr Shariff will look at your X-rays and advise you regards what the best option of treatment is, in your particular case based on the fracture pattern.
If surgery is necessary, a single screw is usually all that is required via a percutaneous (stab incision) technique.
How long will it take for me to recover and are there any long term problems following this type of injury?
It normally takes 6 to 8 weeks for the bone to heal completely. Healing can be delayed if you smoke.
Usually recovery is complete and one might notice the occasional mild pain and stiffness in the foot.