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Foot Ankle Int. 2013 Apr;34(4):518-22. doi: 10.1177/1071100713477616. Epub 2013 Feb 15.

Radiographic factors and effect of fifth metatarsal Jones and diaphyseal stress fractures on participation in the NFL.

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Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA.



Jones fracture and proximal diaphyseal stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal have been associated with prolonged healing times and nonunions. We hypothesized that the Jones fracture and proximal diaphyseal stress fracture have a high incidence in elite collegiate football players and that they lead to a decrease in participation in the NFL. Also, we hypothesized that these fractures are associated with a cavovarus foot alignment.


The database collected by a single NFL team during the 2004 to 2009 NFL Combines was reviewed to identify players with Jones and proximal diaphyseal fifth metatarsal fractures. A total of 74 fifth metatarsal fractures were identified in 68 players. Subsequent participation data also were collected through the website and included games played and years played. Digital plain radiographs and additional imaging studies also were reviewed to determine the extent of healing, types of fixation utilized, and foot alignment.


The locations of fractures in the proximal fifth metatarsal were 45 (61%) in the Jones area, 15 (20%) in the proximal diaphyseal area, and 14 (19%) of indeterminate location. The number of patients treated with intramedullary fixation was 55/74 (74%). Of 74 proximal fifth metatarsal fractures, 9 (12.2%) were nonunions at the time of the NFL Combine medical examinations. With the numbers available, the average number of games played in the NFL was not significantly different in the fifth metatarsal fracture group, 16.9, compared to the control group, 24.9 (P > .05). The average number of games started was 7.4 in the fracture group versus 12.1 in the control group (P > .05). No significant differences were noted in the number of years played in the NFL. Except for talonavicular angle measurements, all measurements of coronal plane alignment demonstrated significant differences across groups, but no differences were noted in sagittal plane alignment.


No statistically significant difference was noted in participation in the NFL following Jones fractures and proximal diaphyseal stress fractures of the fifth metatarsal, although a trend toward decreased participation was noted. Radiographic abnormalities were noted in the coronal plane with varus alignment, but not in the sagittal plane.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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