Metatarsal stress fractures can be treated with a spring plate
Our Medically Guided Shopping team contacted me this week with a customer question regarding metatarsal stress fractures. The customer had been to their doctor and had received a diagnosis of a non-displaced metatarsal stress fracture of the 3rd and 4th metatarsals. The customer wanted to know what the best product would be - flat carbon graphite plate or Spring Plate.
Metatarsal stress fractures are fractures that are not displaced. The bone at the fracture site is well-apposed and well-aligned. The bone will heal in time, but the use of a splint is necessary to allow the bone to rest as it heals. The challenge for a foot specialist is to design a treatment plan that splints the bone while enabling the patient to be ambulatory. A walking cast or a fracture shoe could be used. But what works best in many cases is simply stiffening the patient's shoe.
Several years ago I saw a police officer in late June for what turned out to be a metatarsal stress fracture. My recommendation was to use a walking cast. The officer was a nice fellow and said to me, "Doc, we can do that but I'll need to work the big fourth of July celebration. I get triple pay to work it and I just can't miss it." We talked for a bit and came together to the conclusion that the use of a police work shoe with a Spring Plate was as good if not better than the walking cast. My patient was instructed to listen to his symptoms. Ice when possible and elevate his foot when he could. Don't push through the pain. He went on to heal uneventfully and was able to work his 4th of July shift.
I used the same recommendation for our customer suggesting that they use a Spring Plate to treat the fractures. I stressed with our team that the customer read our article on metatarsal stress fractures. The Carbon Graphite Flat Plate would also work, but for the ambulatory patient, the Spring Plate is just a bit more comfortable.
It'll be a matter of weeks before those fractures will be healed, but the use of the Spring Plate ought to help the fractures heal just a bit faster.