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What is a Dancer’s Fracture?
An injury to the ankle and foot caused by twisting may cause an avulsion (pulling off) fracture at the base of the bone that attaches the little toe to the foot (5th Metatarsal). During a Foot Fracture Avulsion, a fragment of the bone at the base of the pinkie toe separates due to a strong plantar ligament that attaches to this part of the bone. A Dancer’s fracture causes pain, swelling, and difficulty walking. Patients with conditions such as Osteoporosis have a higher risk of all types of bone fracture, due to decreased bone density.
The most common cause of a dancer’s fracture is a sudden twisting or rolling of the ankle, resulting in excessive force being applied to the fifth metatarsal. This can happen during dance movements, such as jumps or quick changes in direction, or during other activities that involve similar foot movements.
Two Main Types of Dancer’s Fractures
- Avulsion Fracture: This type of fracture occurs when the tendon or ligament attached to the fifth metatarsal bone pulls away a small piece of bone. It often happens as a result of a sudden and forceful contraction of the muscles, causing the bone fragment to break off.
- Jones Fracture: This is a more severe type of dancer’s fracture that involves a break in the mid-portion of the fifth metatarsal bone. It is typically caused by repetitive stress or trauma to the area, rather than a specific incident.
Indication Of Dancer’s Fracture
Symptoms of a dancer’s fracture may include pain, swelling, bruising, difficulty walking or bearing weight on the foot, and localized tenderness at the site of the fracture. Sometimes, a visible deformity or a feeling of instability may be present. In the case of a Jones fracture, the pain is often more intense and may be accompanied by a noticeable bump or deformity on the outer side of the foot.
Treatment For Dancer’s Fracture
Treatment for a dancer’s fracture depends on the severity and location of the fracture. Non-surgical treatment options may include immobilization with a cast or walking boot, along with rest, ice, elevation, and pain medication. Crutches may be used to keep weight off the injured foot during the initial healing phase.
In some cases, especially if the fracture involves displacement or if conservative treatment is unsuccessful, surgery may be recommended. Surgical options can include internal fixation with screws or plates to stabilize the fractured bone and promote proper healing.
Following treatment, rehabilitation exercises, and physical therapy may be prescribed to restore strength, flexibility, and function to the foot. The length of the recovery period can vary depending on the severity of the fracture and the individual’s healing process.