Subject:Recent Foot Surgery; Fusion 4th and 5th Metatarsal with Bone Graft

Question:

I just had (four weeks out) a fusion of the 4th and 5th foot metatarsals with a bone graft from my knee.  This is the second time.  The first time, there was no bone graft, and it failed.  After the first foot surgery, the original surgeon said to be non weight bearing for six weeks.  After this surgery with a new surgeon, the same answer…non weight bearing for six weeks.  My question is, why six weeks?  Is that really how long it takes for the bones to fuse?  Is it really only four but it is common to tack on extra weeks to be save.  It just seems strange to me that there is the “six week” period.  What is the reason?  What does six weeks really accomplish?  Thank you.

 

Answer:

This Chicago & Elmhurst Podiatrist says…….

Dear Joy,

Excellent question!
In a most perfect world fractures/grafts of metatarsal bones in the foot take three to four weeks to heal. That can happen will no movement of the bone at the healing site, and with an excellent blood supply if present.
That said-even when healed, your foot bone is still plastic (soft) at an early stage. So even if it has “healed”-putting weight on the foot may cause movement of the graft site or the position of the metatarsal and then delay healing.
At six weeks the healed bone in your metatarsals will be harder than the softer plastic bone at 4 weeks.
Grafts also heal slower than regular fractures-due to the fact that the graft does not have a blood supply. So the graft needs to be “absorbed”. This alone will add a minimum of 3 weeks.

Figure 8 weeks to play it safe-maybe longer. If the foot fracture healing failed due to smoking or other factors-plan for some possible healing delay.

Hope This Helps
Good Luck!

Dr George Tsatsos & Svetlana Zats
Podiatrist Chicago 60618 & Elmhurst 60126 Podiatrists
Board Certified in Foot and Ankle Surgery & Orthopedics
New South Loop Location-Chicago 60661
AnkleNFoot.com
Runnersdoc.com
BabyFootDoc.com

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