Made famous by David Beckham and Wayne Rooney, broken metatarsal in fact accounts for over 30% of traumatic foot injuries suffered by sportsmen in the UK.
The most commonly broken metatarsal is the fifth one, with injuries occurring as a result of direct trauma, excessive rotational forces, or overuse. This means they can affect not only footballers and rugby players, but also endurance athletes such as runners.
The symptoms of a broken metatarsal are pretty straight forward:
- Severe foot pain
- Swelling and bruising
- Pain if you attempt to walk on the injured foot
If you suspect you have suffered a fracture of this nature, you should immediately cease activity and apply ice, then consult a sports injury specialist or doctor as soon as possible.
Treatment varies according to the type and location of the fracture. For most fractures, immobilization in a removable plastic cast and restricted weight bearing for 6 - 8 weeks will be sufficient to affect good recovery.
However, if the fracture fragments are not well aligned, or the stress fracture is at the base of the Fifth Metatarsal, recovery can be more problematic. In this case an orthopaedic consultant might recommend surgery.