July 1st, 2013 , Foot Ankle Int.

A clinical and radiographic comparison of two hardware systems used to treat jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal


There is a broad variation in the type and size of screws used for Jones fractures. Therefore, a screw implant specifically designed for the operative treatment of a Jones fracture has been developed. The purpose of this retrospective study was to compare the clinical and radiographic results of patients treated with a screw specifically designed for this fracture to a group treated with a traditional screw.


Forty-seven patients underwent surgery (47 feet) for a Jones fracture between 1999 and 2007, performed by 4 foot and ankle fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeons at one institution. Twenty-six patients (26 feet) were treated with the indication-specific screw (group I), while 21 patients (21 feet) were operated on with the traditional screw (group II). All patients were retrospectively reviewed for either radiographic signs of union or an adverse event. Radiographic parameters were evaluated by 2 independent observers, which included Torg’s classification system (intramedullary sclerosis, cortical hypertrophy, periosteal reaction), hardware failure, with an endpoint of healing or nonunion. Of 47 patients, 40 were available for clinical follow-up, and functional outcomes with VAS pain scores at final follow-up visit were compared. Additional procedures (bone grafting), complications, and adverse events were recorded. The results were analyzed using Fisher’s exact tests and independent t test with a significance level of .05. The average age of the patients was 43.8 years, with a mean clinical follow-up of 37 months (range of 6 to 105 months).


Preoperative films were classified according to the Torg classification system and did not demonstrate any difference between group I and group II, with respect to the type of Jones fracture. There was no significant difference found between the 2 groups as related to fracture union, but there was a higher number of adverse events in group II as compared with group I (P = .03). The adverse events included 2 implant failures, 1 intraoperative fracture, and 1 symptomatic hardware, all requiring further surgical interventions. All adverse events occurred within an average of 2 months after surgery. Clinically, there were no statistically significant differences between the 2 systems in regard to limitations in activity, shoe-wear modifications, recovery time, satisfaction, and willingness to repeat the surgery. The VAS pain scales (0-100) were equivalent; average VAS pain of group II was reported as 9 (range, 0-33), as compared to the VAS pain of patients in group I averaging 11 (range, 0-47).


In our retrospective series, comparing 2 differing instrumentation systems in treating Jones fractures, both groups were found to progress to radiographic union above 95%. Although there was a statistically greater number of adverse events in the traditional hardware system (group II), clinically both groups had similar outcomes with good results.


Level III, retrospective comparative series.