The NBA’s MVP and four time scoring champ Kevin Durant has a Jones fracture in his right foot and will be sitting on the bench for 6-8 weeks, Oklahoma City Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced over the weekend. The fracture is most likely the result of stress and occurred over time, and wasn’t due to a specific event. “From what I’ve been told, a Jones fracture is the most common surgical procedure performed on NBA players as of late,” Presti said.
A Jones fracture is a potentially serious injury for an athlete. It is a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal of the foot, the outermost bone, which begins at the base of the small toe. The Jones fracture occurs in the midportion of the bone, causing swelling and pain. Many don’t realize they have it, try to play through the at-first mild pain, and this stress on the fracture makes it much worse. Non weight-bearing is essential for proper healing.
The Jones fracture is also particularly difficult to heal well, and frequently requires surgery to successfully repair, along with 4-6 weeks of physical rehab. The good news is, Durant informed his team trainers during practice Saturday about the aching and discomfort in his foot. They performed imaging scans on the sore area, which revealed the jones fracture. Had Durant played another game or two on the injured foot, the fracture may have become much worse and kept him out all season. At this point, it appears he’ll be back on the court sometime in December to finish out the season. Durant, entering his eighth season, has only thus far missed a total of 16 games.
Treating a Jones fracture
For those who aren’t professional athletes, the normal course of treatment for a Jones fracture is to immobilize the foot in a cast, splint, or walking boot for 6-8 weeks. This is usually sufficient treatment in 75% of cases. However, if you’re an athlete and your career depends on the health of your feet, surgery is usually performed to secure the bones in place with screws, plates, wires, or pins, so the metatarsal heals as close to perfect as possible. The 5th metatarsal has a limited blood supply due to its size, and surgery insures that the bone will set correctly and hold up under the pounding of playing on a hard court every day.
Jones fracture symptoms
- Pain, swelling, and/or bruising in the region of the 5th metatarsal bone – below your small toe
- Severe pain when walking
Jones fracture treatment
- In most cases, immobilization of the fractured foot in a walking boot or cast
- Non weight-bearing
- Over the counter ant-inflammatory pain relievers such as advil (ibuprofen) or aleve (naproxen)
- Foot surgery if necessary
- 2-3 weeks of physical rehabilitation after immobilization to insure proper healing of the bone