Functional outcomes for nonoperatively treated proximal fifth metatarsal fractures

Hannah A. Dineen, University of North Florida
Timothy D. Murphy, University of North Florida
Sabrina Mangat, University of North Florida
Eric Z. Lukosius, University of North Florida
Feng Chang Lin, University of North Florida
Brett J. Pettett, University of North Florida
Stephen J. Peoples, Stephen Peoples Consulting, Inc
Shepard R. Hurwitz, University of North Florida


Fractures of the proximal fifth metatarsal are relatively common and can be treated with a variety of treatment modalities. The goals of the current study were to answer the following questions: (1) Is there a difference in functional outcomes with different nonoperative treatment modalities for avulsion and Jones fractures? (2) What is the long-term functional impairment? This study included 53 patients who were treated for proximal fifth metatarsal fracture at 1 university health care system between 2004 and 2013. Treatment methods included shoe modification, cast, and boot. Patients completed a telephone questionnaire that included selected questions from the Musculoskeletal Outcomes Data Evaluation and Management System (MODEMS). Treatment groups were stratified as shoe modification or immobilization, and the results of the MODEMS survey were compared. At most recent follow-up, no significant difference was found between the 2 patient groups (P=.062) for self-reported effects of the injury on work and quality of life. No significant difference was found for frequency of use of pain medication (P=.157), patient satisfaction with current symptoms (P=.633), ambulatory status (P=.281), or pain level with strenuous activity (P=.772). Obese patients were more likely to have severe pain with strenuous activity (P=.015). Most (87%) patients were able to ambulate without the need for assistive devices. Of the study patients, 79% could wear dress shoes, excluding high heels, comfortably. The findings showed that patients who were treated with a variety of nonoperative methods for closed proximal fifth metatarsal fracture had acceptable functional outcomes, regardless of treatment method.