The outcome of conservative treatment of fifth metatarsal diaphyseal fractures

J Clin Orthop Trauma. 2020 Aug 21;13:74-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jcot.2020.08.013. eCollection 2021 Feb.


Introduction: The fifth metatarsal diaphyseal fracture is a common fracture. However, clear consensus about the treatment is lacking. Unlike the avulsion fracture or Jones' fracture, literature available on the treatment and long-term outcome of the diaphyseal fracture is scarce.The purpose of this study is to demonstrate a substantial number of conservatively treated patients with persistent pain and to evaluate metatarsal shortening and displacement within this group.

Methods: In this retrospective study, 106 patients who had experienced a fifth metatarsal diaphyseal fracture were included and evaluated. The minimum follow-up period was three months. FAAM, AOFAS and NRS scores were used as outcome measurements for function and pain. Length and displacement were analysed on plain X-rays.

Results: At least 11% of the patients who received conservative treatment for their fifth metatarsal diaphyseal fracture had persistent pain at least 3 months after initiation of conservative treatment. No relationship has been found between the length of the fifth metatarsal and the FAAM (r( Petrisor et al., 2006) 2 = 0,051), AOFAS (r( Petrisor et al., 2006) 2 = 0,009) and NRS (r( Petrisor et al., 2006) 2 = 0,001). Furthermore, there was no association between patients with a shorter fifth metatarsal and FAAM, AOFAS, NRS, displacement and BMI.

Discussion and conclusion: The finding of persistent pain in at least 11% of all patients at long-term follow-up confirms our hypothesis on long-term symptoms. However, the results suggest that these persistent symptoms are not related to metatarsal shortening or displacement.

Keywords: Diaphyseal; Fifth metatarsal; Fracture; Treatment.