Fifth Metatarsal Fractures in the NFL


Sagittal plane foot alignment did not differ significantly between groups, but coronal plane alignment did, with varus alignment linked to higher fracture rates.

-Emily Delzell, Lower Extremity Review

A few medical people and coaches asked for more information about foot fractures, since it looks like the barefoot training isn’t doing magic. I am no expert on pressure mapping, but it’s not about walking and collecting data only, it requires the team doing actual activities that can be made into a obstacle course for baseline data. Sorry, but after hearing on video that the FMS is an appropriate screen for NFL athletes at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, one has to rethink why researchers are showing clear relationships between foot function, structure, and even vitamin mineral status. For example Julio Jones fractured his fifth metatarsal and in all seriousness, the fifth metatarsal injury is called a jones fracture. In addition to Julio, a clear problem exists and a recent NFL study confirms my plead to go beyond hurdle steps and scratching one’s back.

My blog post yesterday showed acceleration patterns, and note the forefoot loading during acceleration and the right metatarsal stress being overloaded on the right side. The Orendurff study was confirmed by similar research finding the same pattern. Unfortunately the foot is more complicated than high arc or low arch and screening the foot is time consuming if not done right. A young ATC can do a foot evaluation in 15 minutes if trained, but most colleges are overworked and don’t have time to breathe. Still, we need to spend more time screening and preventing, so we are not running out of ice and have lines of athletes doing EMS to keep their quads from dying after ACL tears.

The solution is comparison, education, and solid research. If you are interested in more information on pressure mapping, I suggest reading publications from Dr. Williams, Dr. Orendurff, and Dr. Becker to get a better idea. For those looking at the clinical side of things for treatment Dr. Williams does a great job on screening the foot beyond foot posture nonsense and some of the new software coming from Noraxon and Tekscan is changing how we screen athletes.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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