College Basketball Gets Us Thinking about the Word “Fracture”

What do you think of when you hear the words “fractured bone?” Do you conjure up an image of a bone broken up into a thousand little pieces? While it’s certainly possible that a bone could break in multiple places, that’s not the definition of a fracture. A fracture is the same thing as a break. Fractured bone = broken bone.

There are, however, different types and various severities of fractures. At Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland, we got to thinking about the word last week when the Detroit News reported that University of Michigan basketball star Caris LeVert might not be ready for the upcoming NBA draft because of a “Jones fracture” in his foot. And they left it at that, not explaining what a Jones fracture is.

The Jones Fracture Allow our expert podiatrists, Dr. Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann, to explain. You have five metatarsal bones in each foot, the long bones of your midfoot that connect your toes to your ankle. They are numbered 1 to 5 starting with your big toe, which makes the 5th metatarsal the one attached to your pinky toe. There are two main types of fracture that commonly afflict the 5th metatarsal bone:

  1. Avulsion fracture – damage to a part of the bone closest to the ankle, commonly occurring along with an ankle roll or sprain. This kind of fracture is not a huge deal, and tends to heal well.
  2. Jones fracture – a break further up on the 5th metatarsal that doesn’t heal as well because of where it happens. The blood supply to this part of the bone is not as good, so healing can be slow. LeVert’s fracture came on top of previous injuries to his left foot, and did require surgery. He will heal, but it looks like it will take a few months in a walking boot. (If you’re curious, the Jones fracture is named after the prominent late 19th-century British orthopedist, Sir Robert Jones.)

Fractures require medical attention Fractures in the bones of the foot, including the Jones fracture, do not always occur from a sudden injury. They can be associated with repetitive stress of any kind, including playing basketball or running. Pain, bruising, or swelling in your foot that doesn’t go away with icing and rest, needs the attention of a doctor. For prompt and accurate diagnosis of your foot problems, call Dr. Oltmann or Dr. Frey at (440) 903-1041, or make an appointment online to visit us at our podiatry office in Solon.