If someone’s negligence caused you fracture of the fifth metatarsal, you may have a case.
Fractures or breaks are typical in the 5th metatarsal, which is the long bone on the outer edge of your foot that connects to your smallest toe. There are two fractures that most commonly happen in the fifth metatarsal.
Each may have a different effect on a personal injury case. These fractures are:
An avulsion fracture occurs when a small part of bone is torn off the big portion of the bone by a tendon or ligament. It is usually the result of an injury when your ankle rolls.
Your doctor should relate an avulsion fracture to an accident. A doctor may miss an avulsion fracture if it happens with an ankle sprain.
A Jones fracture happens in a tiny part of the fifth metatarsal that gets a smaller amount of blood. Thus, it is more likely to have difficulty healing.
A personal injury case’s full value increases if an injury takes longer to heal. This is because the medical bills and pain and suffering component of the case increase with more treatment.
A Jones fracture may be one of two fractures:
- A stress fracture (a small break that happens through time)
- An acute (immediate) break.
Jones fractures may happen through overuse, trauma or repetitive stress. If you are claiming that someone’s negligence caused your Jones fracture, expect the insurance adjuster to argue that the fracture pre-existed the accident.
Hopefully, your doctor says that the accident caused your Jones fracture. The defense doctor is more likely to say that the accident did not cause a Jones fracture.
Florida Standard Jury Instruction 501.5(a) states in pertinent part that the jury should:
“attempt to determine what portion of the Plaintiff’s condition resulted from the aggravation.”
Therefore, the jury should attempt to determine what portion of your Jones fracture resulted from the aggravation. If a Florida jury can make this determination, they are told to award only those damages resulting from the aggravation of a Jones fracture.
If they cannot make that determination, or if it cannot be said that the Jones fracture would have existed apart from the injury, then the jury should award damages for the entire Jones fracture suffered by the victim.
The defense doctor is more likely to say or agree that an avulsion fracture was caused by the accident. Other breaks may occur in the fifth metatarsal. These include:
- Mid-shaft fractures that commonly occur from twisting or trauma.
- Fractures of the metatarsal neck and head.
Symptoms of 5th metatarsal fractures
Jones and avulsion fractures have the same symptoms. They are:
- Tenderness, swelling and pain on the foot’s outer edge
- Difficulty walking.
Tip: Take pictures of any bruising that you may have. This may help you show that the accident caused your fracture.
If you have any symptoms of a fifth metatarsal fracture you should go to a foot and ankle doctor immediately. The full value of your case decreases each day that you wait.
If you wait to get treatment, the responsible parties may argue that the accident did not cause your fifth metatarsal fracture. You want to be able to clearly link your fifth metatarsal fracture to the accident.
Your doctor will question you as to how the injury occurred or when the pain began. Be specific when telling the doctor how the accident happened.
The doctor will write this down in his permanent notes/medical records. You do not want the doctor writing down a different version of events as to how the accident occurred.
The defense will use any inconsistencies against you. Jones fractures do not always appear on X-rays. The doctor may order additional imaging studies to see if you have a Jones fracture.
Non-surgical treatment of 5th metatarsal fracture.
If your fifth metatarsal fracture is not severe, the doctor may keep your foot immobile with a cast, cast boot, or stiff-soled shoe. Crutches may be required so that you do not place weight on your hurt foot.
If your foot is put in a cast, cast boot or stiff-soled shoe, take pictures. You should also take at least one full body picture that includes your face and the foot device.
This picture will help bring your injury to life to a claims adjuster and/or jury. You should also take a full body picture with you using your crutches.
If you are in a cast, cast boot, or stiff-soled shoe, or use crutches, it increases the full value of the case.
A doctor may prescribe a bone stimulator to decrease your recovery time. Using a bone stimulator does not cause pain.
Use of a bone stimulator does not usually significantly increase the value of the pain and suffering component. It does increase the full value of the medical expense aspect of the case.
Bone stimulators are routinely used for Jones fractures. A stimulator may be utilized as part of the treatment or if the fracture has not healed through immobilization.
Surgery on a fifth metatarsal fracture
Surgery may be required if the injury has not properly healed, has multiple breaks or is a displaced bone. Surgery increases the full value of a personal injury case for settlement purposes.
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