Paging Sir Jones: The Story of the Jones Fracture

Sometimes history will remember your name for being a great leader or a creative genius. Other times history will remember your name because you hurt yourself dancing. Such is the case of Sir Robert Jones, a British orthopedic surgeon who discovered a distinct injury that bears his name: the Jones fracture.

In an article published in a 1902 volume of the Annals of Surgery, Sir Jones reports that he had landed on the outer side of his foot while dancing, feeling something give way. He first thought he might have ruptured a tendon, but later found them in perfect order. One X-ray later and he discovered a fracture right near the base of his fifth metatarsal (the long bone that begins at the base of the little toe).

Sir Jones quickly realized he had seen symptoms similar to his own many times before, and this regularity continued even as he recovered from his own injury. In most cases, these patients had twisted or landed awkwardly on their feet. However, there was no previous record of such a specific fracture to be found. It was common medical belief at the time that only a forceful, direct blow to the metatarsals could cause any real damage. Sir Jones, however, proved that a bad twist or roll could do so as well.

The discovery of the Jones fracture was valuable, as it can interfere with normal blood supply to the area and take much longer to heal. Knowing to look for it makes quick and correct treatment much more likely.

Sir Robert Jones was a brilliant medical mind of his era. For the sake of people who have suffered Jones fractures, we can only be grateful that he didn’t appear to be as adept a dancer as well.

If you have been in pain since a twist or roll of your foot, don’t try to ignore it in hopes it will go away on its own. Let Dr. Kevin Powers perform a full examination to ensure the right type of treatment is being applied to your injury. A good check can save plenty of extra recovery time and even chronic issues down the road!  Our Bloomington office is just a phone call away at (812) 333-4422.