Fractured fourth metatarsal, will compression set minimal displaced fracture?


Q: After one week since injuring my foot, an x-ray reveals 4th metatarsal broken on an angle(like this: 'l) with minimal displacement, about 1 mm, diagnosed by urgent care PA. No visible calluses yet. Instructed to use elevation,buddy taping, crutches and boot; repeat x-ray and see orthopedic dr. in two weeks. PA was indifferent on using compression bandage. Question: will comppression bandaging help to set displaced bones?


A:    For a metatarsal fracture, that is minimally or “non-displaced” , the toe is not deformed, then you will need about 3-6 weeks of rest (until non-tender) and the treatment may go from using splinters or stiff-soled shoes to Buddy taping, this involves putting a bandage on the fractured toe and the normal toe next to it, taping them together (use cotton padding between the toes) for support and to prevent movement so the fracture can heal. Using the compression bandage is not likely to displace the bones. If after 6 weeks of relative rest and immobilization of the toe by any of the methods mentioned before, you continue feeling pain it is recommended to get a consultation with your physician. Remember that even after recovery of the fracture, that toe may be vulnerable to fracture if you put it under the same stress again. Your doctor will tell you how many weeks more you will have the immobilization and when you can begin the weight-bearing in that foot, according to the x-rays during your follow up visits.

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