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Jones Fracture in Children: Care Instructions

Metatarsal bones in the foot.


A Jones fracture is a break or a thin (hairline) crack in the fifth metatarsal bone. This is the long bone on the outside of the foot. The break occurs near the end of this bone that's closest to the ankle.

This type of fracture can happen when a child jumps or changes direction quickly and twists the foot or ankle the wrong way. Or it can happen from repeated stress on the bones of the foot.

Treatment depends on how bad the fracture is. Your child may or may not have had surgery. Your doctor may have put your child's foot in a cast to keep it stable. A splint may be used in some cases if there is a lot of swelling. Your child may have been given crutches to use to keep weight off of the foot. The doctor may recommend that your child keep weight off the foot for several weeks.

The fracture may take 6 weeks to several months to heal. It is important to give your child's foot time to heal completely so that it doesn't get hurt again. Do not let your child return to usual activities until your doctor says it's okay. The doctor may suggest that your child get physiotherapy to help regain strength and range of motion in the foot.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask the doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions about how much weight your child can put on the foot and when your child can go back to their usual activities. If your child was given crutches, be sure they are used as directed.
  • Put ice or a cold pack on your child's foot for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when your child is awake) or until the swelling goes down. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's skin.
  • Prop up your child's foot on a pillow when you ice it or anytime your child sits or lies down for the next 3 days. Try to keep it above the level of your child's heart. This will help reduce swelling.
  • Take care of the cast or splint.
    • If your child's foot is in a cast or splint, follow the cast or splint care instructions your doctor gives you. If your child has a removable fibreglass walking cast or a splint, do not take it off unless your doctor tells you to.
    • Keep the cast or splint dry. If your child has a removable fibreglass walking cast or a splint, ask your doctor if it is okay to remove it when your child bathes. Your doctor may want your child to keep it on as much as possible.
    • If you are told to keep your child's cast or splint on, tape a sheet of plastic to cover it during a bath. Water under the cast or splint can cause the skin to itch and hurt.
    • Never cut the cast or let your child stick anything down inside it to scratch an itch on the leg.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child has symptoms of a blood clot in the lung (called a pulmonary embolism). These may include:
    • Sudden chest pain.
    • Trouble breathing.
    • Coughing up blood.
  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has problems with a cast or splint. For example:
    • The skin under the cast or splint is burning or stinging.
    • The cast or splint feels too tight.
    • There is a lot of swelling near the cast or splint. (Some swelling is normal.)
    • Your child has a new fever.
    • There is drainage or a bad smell coming from the cast or splint.
  • Your child has increased or severe pain.
  • Your child has tingling, weakness, or numbness in the foot and toes.
  • Your child cannot move their toes.
  • Your child's foot turns cold or changes colour.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • The pain does not get better day by day.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.