Dallas Cowboys football player Dez Bryant, known as much for his on-field athletic prowess as for his side-line antics, just underwent surgical repair of his fifth metatarsal foot fracture. This type of fracture, which usually occurs at the base of the fifth metatarsal, also known as a “Jones Fracture,” is not an uncommon injury in the realm of aggressive sports like NFL Football.
The typical Jones fracture is caused by acute twisting of the outside of the rear of the foot while weight is applied. The athlete will experience swelling and bruising to the area, moderate to severe pain, and an inability to bear weight on the site.
When conservative treatment fails to allow the fracture site to heal properly, or when the fracture is displaced, especially in an athletic individual who requires a quick return to activity, surgery is necessary to manage the condition. Most often, a single screw placed down the shaft of the fifth metatarsal bone is sufficient to repair and stabilize the fracture site.
It will usually take a patient 4 weeks in a cast or ambulatory fracture brace to recover from surgical repair of fifth metatarsal fractures, via open reduction and internal fixation. Routine physical therapy and other sports therapies are crucial to healing the bone properly to allow for a return to range of motion. Research has proven that surgical management of Jones fractures in an athlete, much like the situation of Mr. Bryant, usually have excellent outcomes. The Cowboys definitely hope this is the case.