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Avulsion fracture of the styloid process

Also referred to as:
Dancers fracture • Pseudo Jones Fracture

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What is an avulsion fracture of the styloid process?

The styloid process is the little bony lump halfway down the outside of your foot. It is the base of the 5th metatarsal.

An avulsion fracture occurs when you twist your foot inwards and this causes the peroneus (fibularis) brevis tendon, which is attached to the styloid process, to pull excessively on the bone, leading to the end of the bone snapping off.

This can be a very painful injury and will usually develop a lot of bruising and swelling after the injury, but not always.

POLICE therapy is an important thing in the first instance, but you need to seek appropriate medical advice. Make sure you explain the problem to the person you see and describe the injury so that they have a better idea of the possible resulting damage. An X-ray can be used to diagnose an avulsion fracture.

The fracture should heal with time, on average it takes 6 weeks for healing, but swelling and pain can continue for 6 months or more. During the initial healing process, it may be necessary to wear an offloading boot or walker. An NHS fracture clinic may be the best route for management of this problem.

The following links may be of interest:

POLICE therapy for sudden and recent injury

Anti-inflammatory and pain relieving medication

When to see a Podiatrist?

A Podiatrist can help to diagnose and treat this problem, however we tend to not see as many acute injuries, due to the wonderful NHS system we have in the UK.

A Podiatrist would want to know your history and information about the injury. If it recently happened, they may advise on offloading and healing. If the problem happened sometime ago and the podiatrists suspects there have been complications with the healing process, they may organise imaging of the area to check it. They may also advise on exercises, footwear and foot orthoses to try and strengthen, support or offload the area, depending on your presentation.

If you have a long standing issue in this area and are still having pain or swelling, a Podiatrist may be the best person you see for further assessment.

If you book an appointment, it is wise to take the footwear you wear day to day.

Avulsion fracture
Avulsion fracture