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Metatarsal stress fracture

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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March fracture is a stress fracture of the metatarsals. It is seen in people who undertake repetitive walking or running, eg, army recruits, nurses, or runners.

The patient complains of the development of a tender lump on the back of the foot. On examination the lump is palpable just distal to the mid-shaft of a metatarsal bone, often the second.

Radiology early in this condition may be normal. Later radiographs may show a hairline fracture and in more severe cases, the development of callus.

There is no displacement and so there is no need for reduction or splintage. Normal walking is encouraged and the forefoot may be supported with elastoplast. Pain resolves after 5 to 6 weeks when fracture union occurs.

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