The long bones found in the foot are known as metatarsal bones. These are located between the ankle bones and the phalanges of the toes. Each foot has five metatarsal bones and referred to as metatarsus. The metatarsal bones carry much of your weight when you walk, run or stand. When these bones are broken,metatarsal fracture occurs and can happen to anyone, regardless of sex, age, or gender and anytime.


There are two kinds of metatarsal fractures:


Acute fractures are caused by sudden injury to the foot like a sport injury and when an object hits or drops on the foot. The indications of acute fractures are pain, soreness in the perimeter of the fractured area, inflammation, bruising, and difficulty to bear weight. The foot’s range of motion may also be restricted. Acute fractures are diagnosed through x-rays, CT scan or MRI. The treatment depends on which metatarsal bone is damaged and which part of the bone is damaged and if the bone is displaced or not. Ice compress and elevating the foot help to minimize the pain. Painkillers like paracetamol and anti-inflammatory drugs may alleviate pain.


Stress fractures are caused by overuse or recurring injury to the metatarsus. The symptoms of stress fractures are pain during exercise alleviated by rest. If pain is not reduced on resting, it may become recurring and widespread. Localized pain in the fractured area is felt as the fracture progresses. The foot becomes inflamed. A bone scan will confirm the stress fracture. Resting and elevating can relieve the pain in the foot. Paracetamol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen are prescribed to soothe the pain. A below-the-knee plaster cast may be advised for extreme pain until it completely heals.


Immediate treatment can help prevent the worsening of metatarsal fracture so consult a doctor after applying first aid medication.