Distinguishing Jones and proximal diaphyseal fractures of the fifth metatarsal

Bavornrit Chuckpaiwong, Robin M Queen, Mark E Easley, James A Nunley
Clinical Orthopaedics and related Research 2008, 466 (8): 1966-70

UNLABELLED: Jones and proximal diaphyseal fractures of the fifth metatarsal are in close anatomic proximity and often are difficult to differentiate. We determined whether it is necessary to differentiate between these two diagnoses. Retrospectively, the two diagnoses were identified radiographically using an accepted classification scheme. Initial management is nonoperative; however, intramedullary screw fixation is performed for competitive athletes, or others with displaced fractures, or delayed union or nonunion. Outcomes were analyzed using Student's t tests, whereas nominal data were analyzed using chi square tests. Thirty-two Jones fractures and 29 proximal diaphyseal fractures were identified. All fractures healed between 4.8 and 9.8 months with a 78% to 82% patient satisfaction rate. Regardless of treatment, the clinical outcomes were not different between the two fracture locations. Shorter return to sport time was observed in operatively treated patients. Operatively treated patients with fracture site sclerosis or medullary canal obliteration on radiographs had lower satisfaction and higher complication rates than patients without these changes. Based on our findings, we do not find a reason to distinguish between fractures of the fifth metatarsal in these two locations. We suggest referring to fifth metatarsal base fractures (excluding avulsions) as Jones fractures.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level IV, therapeutic study.

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