The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

A Fracture Named Jones

Posted by on Thursday, April 5th, 2012

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It’s such a nice, simple little name, but such a bad injury. Today we are going to talk about an unusually nasty fracture: a Jones Fracture.

Oh no, what is a Jones fracture? In simplest terms, it is a fracture of the fifth metatarsal, or the bone attached to your little toe. This type of fracture is found in the midfoot area of the bone, meaning it affects the outside edge of your foot.

Who is this Jones and what does he have to do with this fracture? The Jones in question is Sir Robert Jones. In 1902, he wrote a paper called “Fractures of the Base of the First Metatarsal Bone by Indirect Violence.” It was a bestseller in 1902, sweeping the posh society world like a storm, with lords and ladies and their servants barely able to contain their excitement as they eagerly paged through the thrilling contents. No, probably not, but it did lead to Jones getting a fracture named after him. In the article, he describes six patients who had a fracture located in the outer midfoot area, despite not having had any direct trauma there. One of the patients was Sir Jones himself, who got his fracture from dancing. No doubt he was a fan of Extreme Waltzing.So, let’s give a cheer to Sir Jones and his willingness to dance dangerously in the name of medical knowledge! [Source:  About.Orthopedics]

In all seriousness, though, Jones Fractures can be, well, serious. The blood supply in that area of the foot is poor and a tendon at the base of the foot can keep pulling on the fracture, preventing healing, if the bones are not stabilized.

How will I know if I have a Jones Fracture, especially if I haven’t been dancing? Well, sometimes it’s no mystery–you know you did something bad to your foot, like if you’re a ballerina and you land badly from a leap, or a football player who sees his foot driven in an odd direction by several large linebackers. However, it can also be an overuse injury (see Sir Robert Jones, hardcore dancer) that sneaks up on you. The obvious signs are swelling and enough pain on the outside of your foot that you have difficulty walking. If this is happening to you, it’s time to contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900).

I do indeed have a Jones Fracture, so now what? The most typical treatment is to put the foot in a cast and put the person attached to the foot on crutches. Immobilizing and keeping weight off the foot is key to healing. Be warned, though–healing can mean up to 6-8 weeks in that cast. If you need a reason not to have a Jones Fracture, that’s a good one right there. Especially during the summer.

Sometimes, though, that’s not enough and surgery is required, especially if the patient is an athlete who needs to make sure the long healing process nails it the first time. During surgery, a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) will insert a screw into the metatarsal bone to make sure the bone stays in place while it heals. It’s important to have a specialist like a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) for do the surgery; if the screw is inserted in the wrong place, the bone won’t heal. If this surgery doesn’t work, a bone graft may be necessary.

What’s the aftermath? A Jones Fracture can have a significant impact. Once it’s fractured, it’s vulnerable to being fractured again. It’s also possible for arthritis to develop in that area. You do not want a Jones Fracture, but they are kind of a freak thing, so it’s hard to give any absolute that will help you avoid them,

The best thing you can do with a Jones Fracture, or any other foot injury, is to seek out the proper diagnosis and treatment. If you’re having a foot problem, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.