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Plate Fixation of Proximal Fifth Metatarsal Fracture

Assaf Kadar Orthopedic Division, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

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Ran Ankory Orthopedic Division, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

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Ronen Karpf Orthopedic Division, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

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Elhanan Luger Orthopedic Division, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

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Shlomo Elias Orthopedic Division, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

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Background

Intramedullary screw fixation of fractures of the proximal fifth metatarsal bone may not be satisfactory in comminuted fractures or when the lateral metatarsal bowing has to be restored. We report our experience with plate fixation in these circumstances.

Methods

Between June 1, 2009, and January 31, 2013, 13 patients who had comminuted fracture or nonunion of fracture of the proximal fifth metatarsal bone underwent plate fixation. Study patients were followed up for a mean of 500 days (range, 51–1238 days). Their medical records and radiographs were retrospectively reviewed for demographic and operative data and radiologic evidence of fracture healing. At their most recent follow-up, patients were evaluated for pain levels with a visual analog scale, for foot function with the Foot and Ankle Disability Index, and for quality of life with the 12-Item Short-Form Health Survey.

Results

Fracture union was evident in 12 patients after a mean of 56.8 days (range, 30–92 days). There was only one major complication of sural nerve neuroma and reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Four patients required reoperation for plate removal. Plate fixation of proximal fifth metatarsal comminuted fractures is associated with high union rates, relief of pain, and patient satisfaction. However, plate removal for various reasons was required in approximately one-third of the study patients. This high revision rate might be avoided by better selection of patients and meticulous intraoperative identification and preservation of the sural nerve.

Conclusions

We recommend reserving plate fixation for proximal fifth metatarsal fractures for cases of laterally bowed fifth metatarsal or comminuted fractures.

Corresponding author: Assaf Kadar, MD, Orthopedic Division, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, 6 Weizmann St, Tel Aviv 64239, Israel. (E-mail: Assafkadar@hotmail.com)