Manchester City star soccer player Gabriel Jesus recently sustained a fracture to his foot that will require surgery. Gabriel will be traveling to Barcelona to have surgery for the injury and will likely miss several months of play time. The soccer player sustained what appears to be a metatarsal fracture. Based on the time frame provided by the team and the surgical nature of the problem, a 5th metatarsal fracture may be the culprit.
Metatarsals are the long bones of the foot and the 5th metatarsal lines up with the fifth toe on the outside of the foot. Fifth metatarsal fractures are a common sports related injury. These poorly healing types of fractures are known as “Jones fractures” and they occur at the base of the 5th metatarsal bone in an area of decreased blood flow. The decreased blood flow in the area makes it difficult for the bone to heal.
In some cases, Jones fractures can be treated without surgery if the fracture fragments are well aligned, however there is an increased risk of the bone re-fracturing down the line with nonsurgical care. Nonsurgical treatment of Jones fractures involves periods of non-weight bearing, often up to 8-12 weeks in a hard cast but occasionally they can take even longer to heal. Generally, crutches or a knee scooter is used to help stay off of the injured foot. In very active people, and certainly high level athletes like Gabriel Jesus, surgery is almost always recommended to treat Jones fractures. Surgery for a Jones fracture usually allows for faster return to activity and earlier weight bearing with lower refracture rates.