Patient Information

Metatarsal fracture


A ‘metatarsal fracture’ is a small break (fracture) to one of the bones in the front of your foot.


It can take up to 6 to 12 weeks for this fracture to heal.

Pain and swelling

Your foot may be swollen and painful. This is normal for 3 to 6 months after your injury.
Swelling is often worse at the end of the day. Resting with your foot up, and using ice or cold packs, will help (see Caring for your injury, below). You can also take pain killers.

Speak to your GP or pharmacist for advice on what medicines to take for the pain.

Walking and your shoe

The shoe protects your foot and will make you more comfortable. Wear the shoe when you are standing and walking for the first 3 to 4 weeks. You can put weight through your foot. You may find it easier to use crutches in the early stages.
You can take the shoe off at night or when resting.


Start to exercise as soon as possible. See below for details.

Stop smoking

Reducing or stopping smoking will help recovery.

For help, talk to your GP or pharmacist, or go to www.smokefree.nhs.uk for more information.


We do not usually book to see patients again. With this injury, most people recover well by following the instructions we give here.

Contact the Trauma Triage Clinic team (details listed at the end):

if you still have significant pain or swelling after 12 weeks

if you are concerned about your symptoms

if you are unable to follow the instructions given below

if you have pain other than in your foot.

Caring for your injury: week 1-2

Rest your foot, especially in the first 3 days. Raise your foot on a stool or cushions so that it is above the level of your hip. This will help reduce the swelling.

Wear your shoe whenever standing and walking. You can take it off when resting and at night, and to wash and dress.

Use a cold pack to help with pain and swelling. You can use an ice pack or bag of frozen peas wrapped in a damp towel. Put this on your foot for up to 15 minutes every few hours. Make sure the ice is not in direct contact with your skin.


It is important to get your ankle and foot moving early to stop it getting stiff.

  • Do these exercises 3 to 4 times a day.
  • Start straight away.
  • Take your shoe off first.
  • Move gently and within comfort. You do not need to push into pain.


Point your foot up and down.

Repeat this 10 times.


With your heels together, move your toes apart to turn the foot outwards.

Repeat this 10 times.


Make gentle circles with your foot in one direction and then the other direction.

Repeat this 10 times.

Caring for your injury: week 3-12

You can start to reduce how much you wear the shoe 3 weeks after your injury.

Start by walking without the shoe at home but wearing it for longer distances. Build up to walking without it outside and for longer walks. You should not be using your shoe 6 to 8 weeks after the injury.

It is normal to still have mild discomfort and swelling. This may continue for 3 to 6 months.

Activity and exercise

  • Keep doing your exercises until you have full movement in your foot.
  • Gradually increase your activity.
  • Avoid anything that involves impact for 3 months. This includes running, jumping and dancing.

Frequently asked questions

I am struggling with my shoe. What do I do?

The shoe has a thick sole which can make you feel uneven. Make sure you wear a supportive shoe or trainer on your uninjured foot. This will reduce stress on other joints.

If you need more advice, or are struggling to reduce how much you wear the shoe, contact the Trauma Triage Clinic (details below).

When can I start driving?

You can return to driving when:

  • you are no longer using your shoe
  • and you can walk comfortably
  • and you can perform an emergency stop without pain.

Before you start driving again, it is recommended that you speak to your insurance company and test your ability to drive in a safe environment.

How can I get a certificate for work?

You can get a fitness for work statement from your GP.

What do I do with my shoe and crutches when I no longer need them?

Both the shoe and crutches can be returned to the Physiotherapy Department.


Trauma Triage Clinic 020 8934 6983 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm),
For urgent queries outside these times NHS 111

Translate Please speak to a member of staff before or during your visit to the hospital if you require translation.
Accessibility Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 8934 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For information accessibility please visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust
Support services

Visit the hospital website, ask a member of staff, or ring us for details.


Switchboard 020 8546 7711

  • ‘Find Us’ page for maps, transport, registering a blue badge, disabled access
  • Information, advice and support for patients and relatives (PALS) 020 8934 3993
  • Pastoral and Spiritual Support 020 8546 7711
  • Learning Disability Liaison Team 020 8934 6895
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Please contact the Patient Experience Team on 020 893 3850 if you need this information in a different format.
For detailed information on accessibility at Kingston Hospital visit Kingston Hospital AccessAble (https://www.accessable.co.uk/kingston-hospital-nhs-foundation-trust).

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