SportMed Soccer Tips: Metatarsal Injuries
The broken metatarsal injury is one that fans of English soccer must truly hate. Stars like David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen have all suffered from this injury in the past. While each player made their return in a reasonable amount of time, they usually rushed back to action, playing through pain at less than 100 percent.
Metatarsal bones are the five long bones in the forefoot, connecting the toes to the rest of the foot bones. These are major weight-bearing bones. Repetitive stress, over-use, twisting, improper footwear or a direct blow to the foot (such as getting stepped on) can result in a fracture.
The athlete will experience severe foot pain, bruising, swelling and tenderness, especially when bearing weight. With Metatarsal injuries, as with most acute injures, protection and rest are required, along with ice and elevation. Tests like X-rays and bone scans may be ordered to ensure a correct diagnosis. In the case of fractures, the injured athlete may need a pin or screw inserted to assist the recovery process.
The recovery time depends on the amount of damage and which metatarsal is affected. Most professionals indicate that recovery can take six-to-eight weeks. However, a player like Rooney (who’s suffered the injury three times) has needed as many as fourteen weeks to return to action.
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