Jones Fracture and Lisfranc Fracture: Causes, symptoms and treatment options

Updated 2/1/2023
Jones Fracture, University Foot and Ankle Institute

What is a Jones Fracture? 

A Jones fracture is a common fracture that often affects elite athletes and weekend warriors occur at the base of the fifth metatarsal bone  (the long bone on the outside of the foot that leads up to the little toe.). 

This condition got its name from Sir Robert Jones who wrote about a fracture that he and six others had in 1902 that he decided to study after a night of dancing. 


Because this area receives poor blood supply healing can be difficult. Since a Jones fracture is very similar to a sprain or avulsion fracture (known as a "pseudo-jones" injury), it's critically important to be evaluated by a very talented orthopedic sports medicine foot and ankle specialist. 

Symptoms of a Jones Fracture

Typical symptoms include:

  • Jones Fracture, Fifth metatarsal fracture, University foot and ankle institute
    Pain or achiness on the outside of your foot
  • Swelling and/or bruising in the injured area
  • Walking with limp or unable to bear weight


    Some patients can describe exactly when the injury occurred while others report an achiness or soreness that has been present for some time. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek proper medical attention to reduce the risk of a worsening condition.


    People at risk for Jones fracture include:

    • elite athletes and weekend warriors
    • dancers
    • employees who walk or stand most of the time
    • patients with osteoporosis


    Your doctor will examine the foot and discuss how long you have been experiencing pain and how the injury occurred. X-rays most likely will be ordered. In some cases, fifth metatarsal fractures do not show on initial x-rays and additional imaging may be necessary.


    What’s the difference between an avulsion fracture and a Jones fracture?

    While an avulsion fracture and a Jones fracture are both fractures of the fifth metatarsal, they are very different types of bone fractures. An avulsion fracture occurs at the base of the fifth metatarsal while a Jones fracture occurs in the middle of the bone.


    An avulsion fracture occurs when a small piece of bone attached to a tendon or ligament (this area of bone is called the tuberosity) is pulled from the central part of the bone. In an avulsion fracture, your bone moves one way, and your tendon or ligament moves in the opposite direction with a broken chunk of bone in tow. This most often happens when you suddenly change direction. The condition is also called a dancer’s fracture or pseudo-Jones fracture.


    If you feel pain, please consult our offices for X-rays. Avulsion fractures can be severe and require surgery. An X-ray is required to differentiate a fracture from a sprain.


    Avulsion fractures without surgery usually take about 3-12 weeks to heal completely.



    Treatment of a Jones Fracture

    Non-weight bearing: Keep the weight off the foot, crutches may be used in most Jones fracture cases, non-surgical treatment will be recommended and may include:


    • Walking boot/cast or hard-soled shoe: to protect the fracture site and keep it immobile to avoid re-fracture and better bone healing.
    • Anti-inflammatory medication: to reduce swelling and pain from this acute injury.
    • Ice pack: Icing the injured foot for 15- 20 minutes, several times per day.

    Jones Fracture Recovery Time

    The recovery time (complete healing) of a Jones fracture may take longer than the 6-8 weeks required for most other fractures. Because the area around the fifth metatarsal bone of the foot receives less blood flow, it is prone to injury, and healing time is increased.

    Surgical Treatment Options

    In cases where the fracture didn’t properly heal or there are multiple breaks or a displaced bone, surgery may be recommended. Some patients, such as elite athletes, wish to avoid the lengthy natural healing process of a Jones fracture and opt for surgery right away.


    During Jones fracture surgery, screw fixation is used for internal fixation to stabilizes the fracture. To further facilitate healing, bone grafting may also be performed. Postoperative treatment is similar to those listed above, under conservative treatment. Surgical treatment of a Jones fracture typically allows for a significantly quicker return to activity.


    Metatarsal fracture surgery generally involves a 6 to 8 week recovery period in a walking cast/boot.


    What is a Lisfranc Fracture 

    When a fracture occurs the metatarsal and the cuneiform bones (located around the middle foot) it's called a Lisfranc fracture. Lisfranc injuries are often the result of excessive force to the midfoot or a forceful movement when part of the foot is stabilized. An example would be an injury to the foot while horseback riding, with the front part of the foot locked-in to the stirrup.


    Other midfoot fracture causes are related to traffic collisions, a fall from a significant height, or a heavy object falling onto the foot. Lisfranc fractures are rare and the type of fracture often missed on initial x-rays.

    Lisfranc Fracture, Midfoot fracture, University Foot and Ankle Institute


    Treatment Options for a Midfoot Lisfanc Fracture

    Proper treatment of Lisfranc injuries is critical. Complications of an untreated midfoot fracture include:

    • Permanent mal-alignment of the bone resulting in limited ability to walk on the foot or fit into shoes
    • Arthritis, when the break is in the region of a joint
    • Chronic foot pain
    • Long-term difficulty walking


    If your Lisfranc midfoot fracture has not forced the injured bones out of position, your doctor will cast the area and have you refrain from bearing weight for about six weeks. After the cast is removed, you may have to wear rigid arch support. Foot exercises will help to build strength and restore full range of motion.


    Surgery is often required to stabilize the bones until healing is complete. Post-surgery, you will have to wear a cast and limit weight-bearing for as long as eight weeks. You may wear a walking brace while transitioning to a normal shoe.


    You may be interested in visiting our pages discussing broken toes, calcaneal fractures, and broken ankles.


    Choose University Foot and Ankle Institute for Your Foot Care

    The podiatrists at UFAI are trained trauma specialists and are experts in the treatment of all foot and ankle fractures, including Jones fractures. Our team of physicians is proud to offer state-of-the-art care in a professional, comfortable, and relaxed environment. Our goal is to get you back on your feet and back to normal activity in the shortest amount of time. At home on in-clinic physical therapy may be recommended following surgery.


    Why UFAI is your Best Choice for Foot and Ankle Care

    Using the most advanced techniques, some of which we helped develop, has allowed us to maintain the highest success rates in the nation for ankle injuries. Our goal is to quickly get you back on your feet, utilizing the least invasive treatments possible.


    Patients are our number one priority. Beginning with the ease of making your appointment, our family-friendly office staff is with you every step of the way. We have our own x-ray, musculoskeletal ultrasound aad even an MRI and 3D CT and many of our facilities.


    We also offer orthotic and brace manufacturing as well as on-site physical therapy services and state-of-the-art operating rooms. This means you will rarely have to go from one specialist to the next, cutting down on your travel needs and wasted time.

    While most orthopedic surgeons focus on all the bones and joints in the body, only spending a fraction of their time on the foot and ankle, UFAI's surgeons choose to treat foot and ankle conditions as their lifework.


    Podiatric foot and ankle surgeons concentrate exclusively on the foot and ankle from day one of medical school. After medical training, they begin a rigorous three-year surgical residency. What sets podiatric surgical residents apart from general orthopedic residents is they specialize in the foot and ankle while most (though not all) ortho residents do not.


    Years of training and decades of experience and research is why the foot and ankle surgeons at UFAI have the highest success rates in the United States, literally helping thousands get back on their feet and back to their life.

    • Foot and Ankle Surgeon at University Foot and Ankle Institute
      Dr. Justin Franson, DPM, University Foot and Ankle Institute, Foot and Ankle Surgeon

      Dr. Justin Franson, DPM, is a Board Certified Podiatric Foot and Ankle Specialist and Diplomate of the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. He attended the School College of Podiatric Medicine in Chicago, graduating in 2001. Dr. Franson then accepted a three-year residency program at the Greater Los Angeles VA and UCLA County Hospital. 


      Dr. Franson specializes in several areas including total ankle replacement and sports medicine. Treating athletes and weekend warriors like himself brings him a lot of joy. Dr. Franson keeps active with running marathons, triathlons, hiking, basketball, and golf.

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