Outcome of nonoperative management of displaced oblique spiral fractures of the fifth metatarsal shaft

Michael Aynardi, David I. Pedowitz, Heather Saffel, Christine Piper, Steven M. Raikin

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28 Scopus citations


Background: Nonoperative management has been the preferred treatment for displaced oblique spiral fractures of the fifth metatarsal shaft; yet a paucity of literature supports this claim. The purpose of this investigation was to report the incidence and long-term outcome in the largest cohort of these fractures reported to date. Methods: From 2006 through 2010, 2990 patients sustaining closed metatarsal fractures were seen and treated. Displaced, oblique, spiral fractures of the distal shaft of the fifth metatarsal were identified and follow-up was conducted. Only patients who were initially treated with nonoperative management were included. Patients were seen at 6 and 12 weeks, and a minimum 2-year follow-up was conducted. In addition, demographic information was obtained, and the Short Form-12 (SF-12) and Foot and Ankle Ability Measure (FAAM) were administered. Average follow-up was 3.5 years. Results: In all, 142 acute fractures were managed for an incidence of 4.8% of all metatarsal fractures. There were 117 females and 25 males, average age was 55. FAAM activities of daily living subscale scores averaged 95.5 (±5.7), while FAAM sports subscales were 92.7 (±9.1). SF-12 physical and mental scores averaged 51.4 (±4.9) and 50.3 (±4.6), respectively. There were 2 delayed unions, 1 asymptomatic nonunion treated nonoperatively, and 2 painful nonunions that required open reduction internal fixation with bone grafting. Conclusion: This large cohort described the relative incidence and functional outcomes of displaced oblique fracture of shaft of the fifth metatarsal bone treated nonoperatively. Nonoperative management of these fractures resulted in excellent, long-term functional outcomes. Level of Evidence: Level II, prospective cohort study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1619-1623
Number of pages5
JournalFoot and Ankle International
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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