Surgery for Jones Fractures

What are Jones Fractures?

Jones Fractures are breaks in the long bone on the outside of the foot, the fifth metatarsal. These breaks are usually caused by sharp twists to the foot and ankle.

Diagram of the Foot looking from above. It shows various types of fractures that involve the fifth metatarsal
Diagram of the Foot looking from above. It shows various types of fractures that involve the fifth metatarsal.

Surgery is only needed when the Jones fracture is very bad, or when a cast or shoe has been tried and failed.

There are a number of different surgical options, and the appropriate choice will depend on your injury and individual wishes. This can be discussed with your surgeon at the time.

Screw Fixation of Jones Fractures

A common operation used to treat Jones fractures is the 'intra-medullary' screw. This is often a very effective way of facillitating healing of the bone with minimal risk.

Your surgeon will make a small cut on the underside/outer surface of your foot and carefully drill along the length of the metatarsal bone. While this can be done while you're asleep (under general anaesthetic) it can also be done with only the foot and ankle numbed (local anaesthetic).

Recovery following surgery usually involves a cast and crutches for 2-4 weeks then partial weight-bearing in the following weeks. Running may be permitted after 6 weeks but X-Rays must show bone healing before this is allowed - please check this with your surgeon and physiotherapist before beginning.

What are risks of surgery?

Along with the usual risks of surgery (infection, bleeding etc) there may be damage to the nerves running near the fracture site. This may cause an area of numbness on the outer surface of the foot. While this is irritating, it does not usually cause substantial problems.

Other problems that arise following surgery include failed healing or poorly positioned healing, often associated with return to activities to quickly. Sometimes the screw can cause discomfort, from mild irritation to severe pain and in rare cases needs to be removed and the bone re-set.

 

1 September, 2012