As with most injuries, oncimagese you have completely healed, from a Jones fracture, physical therapy (PT) can begin. You may look at your foot and realize that it is still swollen. You may look down at your leg one day and notice that it appears to be smaller than the unaffected side. These conditions are both normal after treatment of a Jones fracture. But, this is where your PT journey begins.

The main focus of PT after a Jones fracture is to improve these effects of being immobilized, atrophy and swelling. Also, initial rehabilitation will help improve walking function. Wolff’s law states that bone heals and grows in response to the stress and strain that is placed upon it. PT also helps ensure that the proper stresses are placed on the healing bone.

After having an initial evaluation, having impairments measured, PT will begin with range of motion (ROM) exercises. ROM is the amount of mobility around a specific joint. Being immobilized after a Jones fracture can lead to a lack of mobility, muscles in the ankle foot, and toes cane become tight. This is why ROM is important to initiate as soon as possible, to increase flexibility and the overall function of the foot.

To decrease swelling in the foot local modalities, like ice and electrical stimulation (E-stim), will be used during the initial phase of physical therapy. Manual therapies, such as cross friction massage, can be used to break up adhesions, also known as scar tissue, within the foot and ankle.

Pain tends to be the most limiting factor as rehabilitation progresses. Pain can be modified using, again, local modalities, like heat, ice, and E-stim. Pain medication are also used to modify pain but should be limited as you move through the healing phase.

Once you have enhanced the function of your foot (i.e. increased ROM, decreased swelling and pain) you can advance to the strengthening phase of rehabilitation. As mentioned before, with immobilization comes atrophy (weakening and shrinking of the muscles). Strengthening the muscles of the foot and ankle prepare you for more sport specific activity in the later phases of PT; activities like plyometrics (jumping), agility (sprinting and cutting), and sport related movements. Balance is also an important part of the strengthening phase. Proprioception is the awareness of your body in space and time. Balancing exercises strengthens this connection between your mind and muscle. Enhancing proprioceptive function has been known to decrease the chances of reinjury.

Your Jones fracture should be completely healed by at least 3 months, taking less time or more time is dependent on the patient and the functions of their body. Healing time also depends on the severity of the fracture. Do not be discouraged! Rehabilitation will help ensure that you are able to quickly and safely return to your normal level of activity and function after a Jones fracture. 

Alex Sawyer, ATC, LAT