Hi there. Six weeks ago, I jumped down onto concrete, my left ankle rolled, and I landed full weight on the top left side of my left foot. My fifth metatarsal was fractured--it wasn't a Jones fracture, and no surgery was needed. My fourth metatarsal also sustained a hairline fracture. I didn't get a cast because I had a pretty bad superficial scrape where my skin met the concrete, and my orthopedist was worried we wouldn't be able to monitor for infection if they did that.
So I was sent home with a walking boot under orders not to walk--NWB for 6 weeks. I checked back in after a week and everything looked good on the xray: there was no further fracturing and there was no displacement. For the last 4 weeks I've been completely off the foot, keeping it elevated, trying to eat well, rest, etc. I don't smoke, never have.
So I had my 6 week check up and xrays--the doctor said everything looks excellent. My scrape is healed, the fourth metatarsal fracture can barely be seen now, and the fifth metatarsal fracture has begun to close up. There is still some fracture towards the outer edge of the bone, but she said she's confident the bone isn't going anywhere and it's okay to start putting full weight on it at this point. So I can walk on it, only in the boot, for the next 2 weeks and then she says we can move to regular shoes. I have full range of motion in my ankle and toes, and she said she wants me to walk on it and put full weight on it now because this will stimulate more bone healing.
I'm actually not really what I'd call "walking" just yet--I'm using the crutches to support me as I go, and I'm putting as much weight on it as I can. Basically, I feel like I need to build up to actual, real walking. She acted like I should just walk out of the office, but I know the muscles in my leg and foot have atrophied, and want to take it slow and easy. I'm fine with working through whatever I need to to rehab them. I go back to work in about 3 weeks, so I want to make sure I'm as physically able bodied as possible. Here's my question (finally):
When I walk (and I've only been back on it for 2 days now), the area at the base of my 4th metatarsal (where the hairline fracture was) really aches. It's not a sharp, shooting pain, but it's really achy. It's not fun to walk on. So I'm worried I'm hurting it further by putting full weight on it. Everything else seems to be starting to work again--the balls of my foot and heel really hurt, but I can tell they're starting to get used to pressure again. It's really just that one area that's scaring me a bit because of the achiness when I walk on it. Is that normal? I've never broken any bones before, so I'm not really sure what to expect as I work to get back to "normal."
Yes, it is very common for the area around the fractures to ache when first putting weight on the foot.
And the heel and sole of the foot also will have some burning pain when first pressure it put on them. They have to get used to the pressure again, but it usually only takes a little time.
You have to understand that when a bone is fractured, that is not the only injury. All of the soft tissues around the fracture are also injured. So, the muscles, periosteum, fascia, are all torn and ripped apart. They also have to heal. And many heal with scar tissue. This takes a long time to get used to the weight bearing again. But, it will come around.
The weight bearing will stimulate the bone to fully heal. This is known as Wolff's Law (bone will respond to the stresses applied to it). But, it is okay to use your crutches as you advance your weight bearing. You may want to transition to a cane. Use the cane in the hand opposite the injury. That way you maintain proper gait mechanics and arm swing.