Demographics and outcome of metatarsal fractures

Arch Orthop Trauma Surg. 2011 Feb;131(2):241-5. doi: 10.1007/s00402-010-1164-6. Epub 2010 Aug 17.


Introduction: Although metatarsal fractures are amongst the most common injuries of the foot, this is the first study on outcome after metatarsal fractures.

Method: All consecutive patients with metatarsal fractures treated between January 2006 and September 2008 were re-evaluated. Patients aged 16 to 75 were sent a questionnaire consisting of the American Orthopaedic Foot Ankle Society midfoot score and a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for patient satisfaction.

Results: Four-hundred metatarsal fractures were identified in 322 patients. The fifth metatarsal was involved in more than 50% of patients. Most fractures were caused by an inversion injury or fall from height (75%). Out of 247 patients between 16 and 75 years, a total of 166 patients (67.2%) returned the questionnaire with a median follow-up of 33 months. All patients were treated conservatively. The median AOFAS score was 100 points (P(25)-P(75), 87-100), the median VAS was 9 points (P(25)-P(75), 8-10). The AOFAS and VAS scores correlated negatively with the body mass index (BMI) (R (s) = -0.409 and -0.305; p < 0.001). Patients with diabetes reported lower VAS (p = 0.010) and AOFAS scores (p = 0.020). Females reported a lower AOFAS score (p = 0.034). An increase in dislocation (>2 mm) resulted in a decrease in VAS score (p = 0.017). Multivariable analysis indicated that the VAS score was significantly affected by BMI and dislocation >2 mm (p = 0.013). The AOFAS score was affected by BMI (p = 0.011).

Conclusion: This is the first investigation using two validated outcome scoring systems to determine functional outcome in metatarsal fractures. Overall outcome in metatarsal fractures is high, as almost all fractures healed without complaints at 33 months. Outcome is dependent on BMI, diabetes, gender, and dislocation at the fracture site.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metatarsal Bones / injuries*
  • Metatarsal Bones / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult