Q. Is plaster required for a fractured metatarsal bone in the left foot?

Answered by
Dr. Anuj Nigam
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 12, 2022

Hello doctor,

My fifth metatarsal bone of the left foot is fractured. I do not have any pain, but there is slight swelling. Can I have a plaster?



Welcome to

I have seen your attached X-ray (attachment removed to protect the patient's identity), and you have got a fracture of the distal shaft of the fifth metatarsal bone. It seems to be at its place and not displaced greatly. These fractures usually do not require surgery and are easily correctable with plaster or casts. Cast or plaster application is not recommended immediately as these kinds of fractures cause swelling in the initial days, which may cause tightening of the cast and skin problems and, ultimately non, healing of the fracture.

Applying a temporary slab over the foot and avoiding walking for three days with some anti-inflammatory medications is advocated. Once the swelling subsides, we can go for plaster or cast application. However, these fractures are notorious and may displace even on slight walking before the cast application. If the fracture is out of place, then a K wire fixation is the best treatment option.

Thank you doctor for the reply,

Will a plaster be required if I do not put any pressure or load on the affected limb and walk as limited as possible with a crutch? Plasters cause a great amount of itching and discomfort, and I would like to avoid that at any cost. Is there any way?



Welcome back to

It is not just the bones that one needs to fix in a fracture. The muscle attached to that fracture fragment needs to be held still so that the fractured bones do not get displaced and surgery can be avoided. Many advanced kinds of itch-free light weight fiber glass material casts are available. A plastered immobilization is the need of the hour; otherwise, you will have to undergo surgery.

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