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untreated broken fifth metatarsal

My boyfriend has broken his foot(the fifth metatarsal), the doctor and specialist have choosen to do nothing. What are the reprocussions for him? What can happen to an untreated broken bones(besides the constant swelling bruising and pain)?
Thank you in advance, Carol
Ps Please dont be rude!
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replied February 26th, 2012
Especially eHealthy

It depends upon where the fracture is located and if it is displaced or not. There are many different types of fifth metatarsal fractures.

If the fracture is nondisplaced (sometimes called a hairline fracture) and is stable, it basically does not need any specific treatment, other than for the comfort of the patient.

Again, it also depends upon where the fracture is located. Fractures within the shaft are often unstable, and these usually displace. So, they are usually treated with a cast or surgery.

Fractures within the base of the fifth metatarsal usually heal readily, because the fracture is within the cancellous portion of the bone and has a very good blood supply. Often, these fractures are just treated with some compression (ace wrap) and crutches/cane, if the patient is really tender. In cases where the patient is really, really tender, a cast may be applied for a short period of time. But, usually, a firm soled shoe is all that is needed. The patient can advance activity as tolerated.

So, again, it greatly depends upon what type of fifth metatarsal fracture it is and if it is displaced or not.

Usually, the patient will gradually have less and less pain, as the fracture heals. If he continues to have significant pain, or the pain worsens, he should be reevaluated. Because sometimes, nondisplaced fractures will displace. Otherwise, he will just have to let mother nature take her course. A good diet with extra protein, calcium, vitamin D, and magnesium will help. No smoking while the bone is healing.

Good luck.
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