The human body is composed of hundreds of bones, tendons, ligaments, and other connective tissues. Previously on the blog, AT Surgical’s discussion on Achilles tendinitis introduced one of the most common injuries that affects the largest tendon in the body. Another commonly misunderstood body part is the midfoot.
The long bones that make up the midfoot are called the metatarsals. The metatarsals are most vulnerable in athletes and people who engage in physical activity, but even they don’t fully understand these bones. Take a look at the common myths surrounding a metatarsal injury.
A fracture is not as serious as a broken bone
The most common metatarsal injury is a fracture. Some people believe that fractures can be ignored as they are not as serious as a broken bone when in fact, they are equally as bad. WebMD explains that the metatarsals can either crack, snap into pieces, and even get dislocated. It really is an injury that must not be taken lightly.
I can still move it so it must not be broken
Signs of mobility does not mean that the bone is not broken. The crack can be the size of a hairline, hence the term hairline fracture. Some can bear to move through them but the severity of the injury and pain can quickly progress. It’s best to have a professional diagnose it before exerting more pressure on the foot.
I need to soak it in hot water immediately
After a metatarsal injury, you might get advice to submerge your foot in hot water right away. In truth, this can do more harm than good. Pain Science clarifies that heat works best for chronic pain or muscle strain, but it will do very little for the bones. In fact, the heat can even increase the swelling around the injured foot. Applying an ice pack can help reduce inflammation and numb the pain.
R.I.C.E. will heal the injury
If the injury is a sprain, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E.) can completely heal it. But fractures require immobilization, physical therapy, and even surgery in severe cases which makes a medical diagnosis vital for recovery.
It will take months or years to recover
One fear that athletes have is the long recovery time which is why they ignore the symptoms in the first place. However, Foot Health Facts pointed out that the average healing time is six to twelve weeks provided that you follow the doctor’s orders. Compared to a lifetime of pain or dysfunction, six to twelve weeks of inactivity doesn’t sound bad at all.
I will never be able to walk or run the same way again
The biggest fear surrounding metatarsal injuries is that you may never fully recover and your performance will be greatly affected. This is not necessarily true. Remember David Beckham in 2002? Ladbrokes covered Beckham’s famous metatarsal injury which almost caused his chance to play in the 2002 World Cup. After seven weeks sitting out of training, the soccer star made a full recovery and played in the tournament. It means that focusing on rehabilitation can completely heal a metatarsal injury without any noticeable impact on performance.
Regardless of the kind of metatarsal injury, it’s better to be safe than sorry by consulting a professional in order to take the correct course of action.
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