There are many bones in our foot and 5 of them are long bones, otherwise known as metatarsals. If you are an avid football fan, this term should not sound foreign to you. Remember just before the 2002 World Cup, the famous injury that David Beckham suffered from was a metatarsals injury, resulting in it being called the "Beckham Bone". During a fracture, one if not some metatarsal(s) is broken, resulting in an orthopaedic condition. This is followed by pain and swelling and the inability to absorb shock and weight from the patient.
The first and foremost step would be to provide ample rest to your injured foot. You should stop whatever activities you are engaging to prevent further stresses to your foot. When possible, try to elevate the injured leg to prevent accumulation of fluid, relieving pain and swelling. To reduce the pain further, you can use an ice-pack to bring down the swelling and numb the surrounding muscle and nerves. Over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin, ibuprofen and paracetamol can be orally consumed to provide temporary relief from pain.
Treatment and recovery differ from each patient and the extent of injury. For displaced fractures, an orthopaedic realignment of the bones will need to be carried out under general anaesthesia. The injured foot will be placed in a protective cast for a couple of weeks to allow proper fixation of the bone. For fractures that are not so serious, the patient often requires only a protective cast and a protective boot with crutches. Rehabilitation follows after the treatment and this is an extremely important part of the recovery process. Firstly, the patient will need to eliminate any possible causes of large stresses to the injured foot. Secondly, the patient will need to undergo intensive physical therapy sessions. Physical therapy is carried out to strengthen the muscles gradually and slowly regain back to an active lifestyle. This is due to the shrinking of muscles due to prolonged periods of inactivity, resulting in a need to firm them up again.
Patients with metatarsal fracture are able to make a total recovery back to their pre-injury levels with prompt treatment, proper physical therapy and a nutritious diet. It may take a few months for patients to get back to their active lifestyle though. However, the recovery period differs from each patient and it often takes much determination to diligently perform what is prescribed.
Read here for more information about metacarpal fractures or commonly known as the Boxer's Fracture.