March 2, 2017

How to treat a broken metatarsal

Foot and Ankle | Sports Injury


A metatarsal fracture occurs when one of the five long bones of the midfoot is broken.


The feet contain nearly one-forth of all the bones in your body, which provide you with support and movement. There are 26 bones in one foot: 14 toe bones, five long metatarsal bones and seven tarsal bones. The metatarsals are the bones that connect your toes to your foot.


The metatarsal bones are some of the most commonly fractured (broken) bones in the foot. The two main types of metatarsal fractures are acute fractures, which are due to a sudden injury like dropping something heavy on your foot or a fall; and stress fractures, which are due to overuse or repetitive injury to a metatarsal bone, such as repetitive running or jumping.

Symptoms of a broken metatarsal

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bruising of the foot
  • Inability to walk normally
  • Inability to walk at all

Physician examination

Your physician will ask you for a complete medical history, have you describe your symptoms and how the injury occurred, and conduct a physical examination. An X-ray or MRI may be necessary to rule out other problems.

Make an appointment with an foot and ankle specialist at OrthoIndy

Metatarsal fracture treatment

In most cases, surgery is not necessary. Keep weight off the leg and apply ice to reduce swelling. Protecting the fracture is the primary treatment; stay away from the activity that triggered the injury or any activity that causes pain at the fracture site. Usually the foot will be protected with a short leg walking cast, a brace or a flat-bottom shoe.

Surgery is rarely required; however, if nonsurgical treatment fails to decrease pain in your foot, your physician may recommend surgery.

At-home treatment for foot and ankle injuries


It could take six to eight weeks for the bone to heal. Gradually you may return to the activity, your physician will help determine how to avoid a recurrence.

Learn more about foot and ankle treatment at OrthoIndy.

Schedule an appointment

Your well-being is important to us. Click the button below or call us to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists. If your injury or condition is recent, you can walk right into one of our OrthoIndy Urgent Care locations for immediate care. For rehabilitation and physical therapy, no referral is needed to see one of our physical therapists.

Schedule an Appointment Call OrthoIndy 317.802.2000
Megan Golden

By Megan Golden

Megan Golden worked at OrthoIndy from 2012 to 2019, where she wrote a variety of content for our blog, magazines and inbound campaigns. Megan graduated from Ball State University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and advertising and communications studies minor.

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