The outcome of proximal fifth metatarsal fractures: redefining treatment strategies
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To optimize the treatment strategy and reduce treatment costs of proximal fifth metatarsal fractures, clinical and patient-reported outcome, and its determinants were addressed.
A retrospective adult cohort study including 152 proximal fifth metatarsal fractures: 121 nonoperatively and 31 operatively treated. In the operative group, 21 were zone 1 and 10 zone 2 fractures. Median follow-up was 37.5 (IQR 20.8–52.3) months with a minimal follow-up of 6 months. Twenty-three demographic, fracture, and treatment characteristics were assessed as well as the healthcare costs. Outcome was assessed using the patient files, anterior-posterior and oblique X-rays, foot function index (FFI), visual analog score (VAS), and SF-36 questionnaires.
The median FFI, physical SF-36, and VAS scores did not significantly differ between nonoperatively and operatively treated patients. The FFI and physical SF-36 were predominantly affected by a history of mobility impairment and pre-existent cardiovascular diseases, whereas mental SF-36 correlated significantly with higher ASA-score. Overall complication rate was 5.9% (4.1 vs. 12.9%; p = 0.065, nonoperative vs. operative, respectively). Nonunion was recorded in only one (nonoperatively) treated patient. The total healthcare costs for operative treatment were 4.2 times higher compared to nonoperative treatment (€1960 vs. €463 per patient, respectively).
Overall, the clinical and patient-reported outcome was good. The foot function and quality of life were mainly affected by comorbidity, rather than fracture and treatment-related variables. Although nonoperatively treated patients indicated decreased mental quality of life, our study indicates that proximal fifth metatarsal fractures can safely be treated nonoperatively without the risk of nonunion, with fewer complications and lower healthcare costs.
Level of evidence
KeywordsFractures Metatarsal Management Outcome Costing
American Society of Anesthesiologists physical status score
Body mass index
Deep venous thrombosis
Cardiovascular risk factors
Foot function index
Short form 36
Visual analog scale
Length of stay
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
Research involving human participants
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