Twenty cadaver fifth metatarsals were harvested from cadaver feet. They were then sectioned coronally in three locations. The cortical thickness (medial, lateral, dorsal, and plantar) and the intra-medullary canal diameter (dorsoplantar and mediolateral) were measured at the three sectional sites. The intra-medullary canal of six specimens was outlined with radiopaque solder wire. The canal was then examined radiographically with the lateral and dorsoplantar views. A lateral bow on the dorsoplantar view was observed in some specimens, which could contribute to surgical complications. On lateral view the intramedullary canal appeared straight in all specimens. The canal projects at least partially into the fifth metatarsal cuboid joint. When considering intra-medullary fixation a surgeon must take into account quality of bone stock and bowing of the canal. A bowed intra-medullary canal lends to vulnerability of the medial cortex at roughly mid-shaft of the fifth metatarsal. The canal has a narrower diameter in the dorsoplantar dimension than the mediolateral dimension. The cortical thickness was found to be less in the dorsal and plantar areas of the fifth metatarsal when compared to medial and lateral cortex. All of these findings lead to causes for complication in intra-medullary fixation of the fifth metatarsal.
- FOOT & ANKLE INTERNATIONAL Journal
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