Here at Eastern Foot Care most of us are sports crazy. Australian Rules Football, the A-League and English Premier League soccer, Basketball and Netball (especially the team of our former Podiatrist Caitlyn Nevins – the Queensland Firebirds) – we love it all.
We especially love it when an Aussie does well, and as such we were thrilled when Ben Simmons was drafted at #1 to the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA. This is a massive achievement and we can’t wait to see him in action. Unfortunately that may be a while away; in September Simmons sustained a fracture in his foot. Most foot fractures will heal like other bones in the body; typically osseous union has occurred at around the 6-week mark. In this case however Simmons sustained a Jones fracture.
So…what’s the big deal with a Jones fracture? Why is the expected convalescence longer?
A Jones fracture is a type of fracture that affects a particular region of the 5th metatarsal bone. This region (the meta-diaphyseal junction) has relatively poor vascularization and is subject to high stress loading. As such there is a high rate of non-union (up to 50% of cases may not heal) with a long recovery period (8-10 weeks minimum).
The mechanism of injury is typically adduction of the foot (turning inwards) whilst the foot is plantarflexed (pointing down). Therefore sports involving jumping movements place athletes at risk of Jones fractures when landing, and dancers are also at risk. In fact the Jones fracture is also referred to as a Dancers’ Fracture.
The most important aspect in the management of a Jones fracture is accurate diagnosis. The role of the experienced Sports Podiatrist is crucial in being able to differentially diagnose a Jones fracture from a simple avulsion fracture. The management plan will change considerably for a Jones fracture, with conservative treatment in the form of immobilization being much more aggressive.
Some cases will display considerable displacement at the fracture site and will require immediate surgery to reduce and stabilize the fracture. In other circumstances conservative immobilization strategies may fail and surgery is warranted later on down the track.
The Sports Podiatrists at Eastern Foot Care Ringwood and Eastern Foot Care Knox have managed a number of Jones fractures using conservative immobilization techniques, which typically consist of a combination of immobilization techniques using crutches and a below knee cast or backslab before progressing to a CAM walker. Functional rehabilitation is then required to restore proprioception and ankle strength.
In the case of Ben Simmons he progressed straight to surgery. This approach may have been chosen to expedite his recovery and reduce the risk of recurrence given he is about to commence his professional basketball career. In any case Simmons is a mercurial talent and we look forward to watching him hopefully dominate the NBA soon!
Eastern Foot Care Sports Podiatrists are adept in the diagnosis and management of all types of foot fractures. Our Ringwood Podiatry and Knox Podiatry staff can arrange diagnostic imaging and implement a treatment plan, or alternatively refer on for specialist surgical opinion where indicated.
To make an appointment contact our friendly staff at:
Eastern Foot Care Knox
5a/426 Burwood Hwy, WANTIRNA SOUTH (Knox)
Ph: (03) 9887 2233