A Bone Fracture is a nightmare and it is just one of those bad days we have to deal with. According to the podiatrist, the healing time is 8-12 weeks for a fracture on foot. Unexpectedly, it was a day of my worst nightmare, broke the 5th metatarsal and long story short, it took me about 9 weeks to heal. 9 weeks is a long time due to the kind of foot fracture – it was Jones Fracture.
According to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey & American Academy of Orthopaedic, approximately 6.3 million fractures occur each year in the U.S.Fractures occur at an annual rate of 2.4 per 100 population. The average citizen in a developed country can expect to sustain two fractures over the course of their lifetime.
More interestingly, more than 40% of fractures occur at home (22.5% inside and 19.1% outside). Its no wonder, I hurt my foot right in the comfort of my own home.
Hover over the below image for an important message.
5th Metatarsal - Imp
If you are reading this post immediately following a foot injury, please take the below 3 critical steps:
- Stay off /Immobilize the injured foot immediately
- Sit down and elevate the foot on a table or chair or bed
- Put an ice pack (put ice in a ziplock bag as shown below)
Without delay, let us first understand the fundamentals before we dig into the healing tips.
Bone Fracture – Causes
A fracture is caused due to a high-impact activity that accidentally twists, crushes, bends a bone with forceful or unnatural movements.
It can also be caused due to Osteoporosis or Tumors close to the bone.
Bone Fracture – Symptoms
- Sharp intense pain after an injury
- Inability to move the injured body part
- The injured body part may look out-of-place
- Swelling or bruising or both
- Numbness of the injured body part
- Bleeding may occur
What is a Jones Fracture?
Jones Fracture is a fracture that occurs on the tiny toe (5th metatarsal) on your foot as shown in the below image and this particular area of the tiny bone gets very little blood supply per Podiatrist that extends the healing time.
The Stages in the repair of a Broken Bone
The human foot has 26 bones. Healing of a broken bone takes time and depends on several factors including the age, health condition, nutrition intake, blood flow to the bone, and a good treatment.
There are four stages in the repair of a broken bone and you need to avail your body at each of these stages to effectively heal it:
- A formation of a hematoma at the break,
- formation of a fibrocartilaginous callus,
- formation of a bony callus, and
- Remodeling and addition of compact bone
The below image has been taken from RehabMyPatient and it clearly displays the 5 Metatarsals of the foot and the 5th one is highlighted in red.
Below are the 15 Most Effective Tips that will help you with the quick healing of 5th Metatarsal Fracture. The healing period varies from 8 to 12 weeks based on the person and the current health condition.
Tip 1) Sit down | Call for help
- Sit down immediately post-injury
- Call someone to help you for the first 24-48 hours
Tip 2) Prepare for Healing
- The next 2 to 3 months, use the food delivery service GrubHub or Ubereats but order healthy, see #7 below
- Take the help of your friend to set up the most basic things that you need on a daily basis closer to you like Toiletries, TV setup, books to read, laptop, snacks, etc.
- Place an order and install a shower stool (as shown below) that you would need to sit on and take a shower
Simple stool above (or) below stool if you need that extra support and comfort for your arms and back support.
Tip 3) Follow the proven RICE method
- R – Rest the injured foot immediately (for 24-48 hours)
- I – Keep applying an Ice pack on the injured area for 20 mins every hour (for 24-48 hours)
- C – Apply Compression using an elastic bandage or compression socks to reduce swelling (snug fit only, not too tight)
- E – Elevation of the foot above the level of the heart to reduce swelling and help with the pain
Tip 4) Take a Pain Reliever
- Consider Ibuprofen or Acetaminophen or any other pain reliever that works for you to alleviate the pain
- Some people are allergic to one or the other, only you know better which one works for you
Tip 5) Visit a Podiatrist
- Book an appointment with a Podiatrist
- The Podiatrist will perform a thorough diagnosis for the Fracture after asking you some general questions
- Diagnosis may include X-rays depending on the severity of the injury and MRI in some cases
- The foot is kept immobile for natural healing process with a cast or cast boot or stiff-soled shoe (external fixation) or a black walker (like in the below picture which was given to me)
- Doctor or Nurse will teach you the basics of the cast usage – wearing/removing and some tips to walk
- Don’t hesitate to ask more questions as you get into your new lifestyle for the next couple of months
- Some cases like displaced bone, multiple breaks may warrant for a surgery (internal fixation) that often requires metal implants (Podiatrist will tell you everything post-diagnosis on the same day)
Tip 6) Prefer a Knee Scooter to crutches for moving around
- A KneeRover is easy to maneuver and is steerable with wheels
- This removes any weight-bearing from your foot and gives you extra comfort and freedom to walk
Tip 7) Stair-climbing
- Follow the below video tips to position yourself to climb the stairs with your bottom
- This method will not harm your fractured foot in any way
Tip 8) Eat Nutritious Food every single meal
- This is no time for losing weight and cutting back on food
- Speed up healing with foods rich in Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, Mineral complex, Amino acids, and Collagen = Bone broth, Eggs, Spinach, Swiss chard, Yogurt or kefir, Sardines, Chia and Pumpkin seeds, Grass-fed Organic Meat for high protein, Almonds, Black Beans, oranges, kiwis, Avocados
- Consider vegetable juice for easy consumption
- Stay away from unhealthy fast food, processed food, conventional dairy, and meat, Alcohol, excess sodium, excess sugar that actually work against the bone healing
- Substitute that extra coffee with Green Tea for added Anti-oxidants
Tip 9) Do not overload on Calories
- Do not overload on calories as you want your body to concentrate fully on healing the bone and not to put the body through unwanted stress ( about 2000 nutritious calories per day is just fine for an adult)
Tip 10) Get enough sunlight – Vitamin D
- You must spend time in the sunshine on a daily basis for 20 to 30 minutes to absorb Vitamin D
- If you live in a place where there is poor sunlight, consider investing in Red/Infrared light therapy that helps in improving blood circulation and healing
- Additionally, Podiatrist will run some blood tests to check the Vitamin levels in case of slower healing
Tip 11) Multivitamins
- You need the required Vitamins and Mineral complex to heal
- Below are my recommendations that have the right combinations and highly absorbable by your body
- MaryRuth Daytime and Nighttime Liquid Multimineral – covers the required multivitamins and mineral complex
- Bone Strength – Vitamin K2 + D3 + Magnesium
- Amino acids,
- Marine Collagen,
- Cod Liver Oil,
- Bone Broth – you can get it in any health store like HEB or Central Market or Wholefoods
Tip 12) Use Bone Stimulator
- A bone stimulator is an electronic device which is painless and passes low-intensity ultrasound waves to improve the bone healing
- This tip is more valid for people with slow to no healing (Tobacco addiction, Obesity, Diabetes, Infections, arthritis, poor diet, and living a sedentary lifestyle)
- High deductible insurance will cost you about $2,000-$4000+ for the device. If you have a low deductible and your insurance approves, it will cost much less
However, there is an affordable way, people can purchase the used device on eBay or from other sellers. Make sure the product is sold by a genuine person who couldn’t make full use of it and has good uses left on the device.
The first and third seem to be genuine in the above image (talk to the seller and make a smart call). A rule of thumb is that the device is in a working condition and has enough uses left in it.
Tip 13) Massage the fracture area
- Massaging the area of the fracture with magnesium oil at night will reduce the stress and relaxes the muscle
- There is 100 mg elemental magnesium per 1 ml / 8 sprays which is a plus
Tip 14) Exercise without hurting your foot
- Exercise your body without hurting the foot for better blood circulation and absorption of nutrients
- There is a lot of misinformation on the internet and people’s minds that bed rest is the only way for the bone fracture, this is a myth, please stay active
Tip 15) Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
- Do not skip on sleep as it will prolong the healing time.
- By sleeping for 8-9 hours, each cell in the body renews, heals itself including tissue/bone building and healthy digestion
- My personal experience is that if I do less of physical and mental work on any particular day, I struggle with sleep which is extremely rare for me 🙂
- Read this for tips on Sleep –> https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/17-tips-to-sleep-better
There you go, you have your 15 tips and pat yourself on the back for reading this long post, it tells me how much you are needing these tips right now.
The list of Podiatrist recommended shoes when you are ready to get back to the daily routine post-healing:
As we come to the end of our bone fracture healing journey, please do not hesitate to ask me any questions you might have. Most importantly, you need to be consistent with the tips to heal quickly. I would like to hear from you for any feedback, comment below and let me know.
Frequently Asked Questions
A fracture, also known as a broken bone, is a condition where a particular bone is injured and broken either partially or fully. Bone Fractures are caused when there is a forceful impact on bone.
Fractures occur during sports, dancing, jumping, running, vehicle accidents, falls, or osteoporosis (bone weakening as we age). Seek the attention of a Podiatrist immediately following the injury because only X-ray or MRI can diagnose a bone fracture in great detail.
A fracture can be open or closed. If it is an open fracture, there is a risk of infection as the underneath the skin is exposed. Fractures can also be partial (bone is not completely broke), complete (bone is broken into two or more pieces) and lastly, displaced or non-displaced based on if broken pieces still line-up or not.
Below are the 11 different types of fracture with an image by WebMD source for 5 of the types and several other references:
1) Transverse: occurs at 90-degree angle, breaks straight across the bone
2) Stress or hairline fracture: a thin crack occurs mostly on legs and feet during running
3) Oblique: a displaced fracture and occurs mostly on long bones and it breaks at an angle, visible deformation, and surgery is required for major fractures
4) Greenstick: a bone breaks incompletely and bends and doctor will manually straighten it and a splint is required in such fractures instead of a cast
5) Comminuted: a more severe type during car accidents and occurs on hand and feet or both where a bone breaks into multiple pieces. This fracture requires surgery to prevent further damage to nearest organs and nerves, arteries, veins and ligaments
6) Avulsion: this type is a break where bone attaches to a tendon or ligament
7) Impacted: the bones are driven together
8) Spiral: this type is a very complicated one that is caused by forceful twisting of a limb and bone breaks completely into parts. Surgery is required and a detailed physical therapy post-surgery
9) Stable: Bone is in full alignment (not displaced) but broken clean – the cast is enough for this fracture
10) Compound: this type of fracture is very severe because the bone is visible to the eyes as it is ripped out of the skin – not only surgery but must clean area, remove all the debris, prevent from infection, tetanus shots, antibiotics, and careful observation is required
11) Pathological: occurs during sick patients or age-related where bones are weakened over time – osteoporosis, arthritis, metabolic bone disorders, etc.
The diagnosis is done by a certified medical professional, a Podiatrist. The podiatrist will ask you some basic questions about the injury, how long it has been, make you sit and raise the chair so the area of injury is examined carefully.
Your reaction to the pain is examined just by touching the area of injury to know the severity level (the levels of severity are normally displayed in the room from 0 through 5 and you will pick the number during this exam)
4 Types of fracture diagnosis may involve:
1) X-ray: the most common exam during fractures that produce images showing the internals of the bone
2) MRI – Magnetic Resonance Imaging: is required when X-ray is not deep enough to understand the details
3) CT or CAT scan – Computed Tomography – produces cross-sectional 3-dimensional images of the area
4) Bone scan: is a procedure where a radioactive substance is injected into a vein that is taken by the bones and then monitoring will be several hours to reveal problems of healing or other abnormalities