What You Need to Know About Jones Fractures: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, & Who Is Likely to Get One

A Jones fracture is a specific type of foot fracture that involves the fifth metatarsal. Your fifth metatarsal is the outermost bone along the outside of your foot that connects to your smallest toe (pinkie). Unlike an avulsion fracture, where a small piece of bone is pulled off the metatarsal, a Jones fracture is transverse, meaning that the break is perpendicular to the long axis of the bone. The break typically occurs between the base of the bone (near the ankle), and along the shaft of the fifth metatarsal.

What Causes a Jones Fracture?

There are primarily two reasons behind a Jones fracture. The first is from overuse, and repeated stress on the fifth metatarsal. Any type of repeated impact to this area can cause hairline fractures (stress fractures) to occur over time. Hairline fractures are microscopic cracks or damage in the bone that occur from repetitive actions like running, or jumping. The symptoms of these types of fractures are swelling, bruising, and tenderness. Eventually, these hairline fractures become too much, and your fifth metatarsal, and a Jones fracture occurs.

The second reason is sudden trauma to the area. This can happen if an individual jumps, or changes direction quickly, and ends up twisting their foot or ankle inward towards the other foot (an inversion-type sprain). What happens here is the ankle rolls towards the outside, putting immense pressure on that outside fifth metatarsal. A traumatic acute break can occur if an individual repeatedly experiences this rolling of the ankle, as over time it will weaken the bone to the point where it suddenly breaks.