When it comes to toe fractures, people are more likely to suffer a fracture to their big toe or their pinky toe. However, fractures of the second and third metatarsals on your foot can also occur, and these injuries are the focus of today’s blog.
Fractures of the second or third metatarsals are usually given the name “march fractures” because they often occur as a result of prolonged or repetitive walking, which someone may experience during a march. Besides overuse, some risk factors for developed a march fracture include a foot shape or gait style that overloads the front of your foot, or low levels of Vitamin D in your system. Individuals with bunions or Morton’s neuroma may be at a heightened risk for a march fracture.
Symptoms of fractures of the second or third metatarsals include:
Walking with a limp
The presence of a callus under the toe in question
Inhibited range of motion
Diagnosing and Treating March Fractures
Diagnosing these injuries begins with a clinical examination from a foot specialist like Dr. Silverman. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and take a look at your feet, toes and walking style to get a better idea of what’s going on in your foot. If the doctor believes you’re suffering from a march fracture, they may order an X-ray, bone scan or MRI.
Once you’ve been diagnosed, your doctor will walk you through your treatment options. The main focus of treatment is to immobilize or take stress off the fracture site for a long enough period of time to allow healing to take place. A heavy dose of rest, activity modification and anti-inflammatories are recommended in the first few days, and your doctor may also prescribe a walking boot to keep the toe protected. These toe fractures can take anywhere from 4-12 weeks of conservative care to fully heal.
Surgery is rarely needed for second or third metatarsal fractures, however if there is a non-union of the bone, a small operation may be necessary. This would involve the insertion of hardware to join the bone together so that it can heal correctly, but again, the need for surgery with this injury is very rare.