Protect Your Feet: Metatarsal Fractures May be Caused by Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a silent disease until you have a fracture, and this can happen to men, women and younger adults, with Stress Fracture of 2nd metatarsal bonepreexisting conditions or from unknown reasons which are generally referred to as idiopathic, like, idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis. Common osteoporotic fractures occur in the spine, hip, wrist and ribs. However, weak bones can also cause foot fractures at any age since these bones are exposed to a tremendous amount of weight bearing activity.

The foot and ankle are made up of 26 bones. When you have a fracture in this area it can be caused by repetitive activities and can be common in those who participate in sports. Since our feet must support our body weight they are weight bearing bones that are susceptible to forces that are exerted on them while walking, running and jumping.

Here’s a list of the most common types of foot fractures—which are in the metatarsals—that could occur from repetitive activities and sports.

  • Acute fractures can be caused by dropping a heavy object on your foot or from a sports injury. Acute fractures also occur from twisting the ankle, which pulls on the ligament attached to the bone and removes a piece of the bone. Dancers and athletes are likely to have these types of metatarsal fractures.
  • Stress fractures generally occur from overuse or repetitive injury. As the name implies, this type of fracture occurs from constant stress experienced by the bone in repetitive activities where a hairline break occurs.

What are the different types of metatarsal fractures?

  • Open metatarsal fractures have broken skin above the broken bone.
  • Displaced fractures are those where the bone is no longer in line, as they were before the fracture. These types of fractures may need surgery to realign the bone using pins and plates.

The most common symptom of a metatarsal fracture is continuous foot pain that can diminish to localized pain over the third and fourth metatarsal. The following list will help you treat this.

How do you treat these types of fractures?

  • Rest
  • Immobilization
  • Ice
  • Elevation
  • Surgery

How are metatarsal fractures identified?

Like many types of fractures, metatarsal breaks may not show up on traditional x-rays in the early stages. Half of all metatarsal fractures will not show up on an x-ray and you may need to have a bone scan to view it and to see what type of fracture it may be. If you have a bone scan you’ll probably be given a small amount of radioactive dye through the vein in your arm, and this will illuminate the fractured bone in your foot making it easier for the doctor to see.

If you have osteoporosis be sure to employ safe movements while doing repetitive sports to protect your feet from this type of fracture.


Guest Blogger: Pamela Flores, patient educator & Digital Health Writer

Pamela FloresPam is a patient educator and digital health writer who has worked for Remedy Health Media on their osteoporosis web site since 2008. Pam is also a group leader and moderator with the National Osteoporosis Foundation Inspire online community since 2012, answering questions and guiding members who are newly diagnosed with bone loss.

Twitter: @phflores

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: