Isolated Medial Cuneiform Fractures: A Systematic Search and Qualitative Analysis of Case Studies


Physical Therapy

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Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association

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Background: Isolated medial cuneiform fracture is a rare but diagnostically challenging condition. Diagnostic delay in these cases may lead to delays in ideal treatment approaches and prolonged symptoms. An understanding of clinical presentation is needed to expedite diagnosis, facilitate decision making, and guide treatment approach.

Methods: Case studies/series were searched in four databases until September 2019. Included studies had participants with a history of traumatic closed medial cuneiform fracture. Studies were excluded if the medial cuneiform fractures were open fractures, associated with multitrauma, or associated with dislocation/Lisfranc injury. Three blinded reviewers assessed the methodological quality of the studies, and a qualitative synthesis was performed.

Results: Ten studies comprising 15 patients were identified. Mean ± SD patient age was 38.0 ± 12.8 years, with 86.7% of reported participants being men. The overall methodological quality was moderate to high, and reporting of the patient selection criteria was poor overall. The most commonly reported clinical symptoms were localized tenderness (60.0%) and edema (53.3%). Direct blow was the most common inciting trauma (46.2%), followed by axial load (30.8%) and avulsion injuries (23.1%). Baseline radiographs were occult in 72.7% of patients; magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography were the most common diagnostic modalities. Mean ± SD diagnostic delay was 64.7 ± 89.6 days. Conservative management was pursued in 54.5% of patients, with reported resolution of symptoms in 3 to 6 months. Surgical intervention occurred in 45.5% of patients and resulted in functional restoration in 3 to 6 months in all but one patient.

Conclusions: Initial radiographs for isolated medial cuneiform fractures are frequently occult. Due to expedience and relatively low cost, radiographs are still a viable first-line imaging modality. If clinical concern remains, magnetic resonance imaging may be pursued to minimize diagnostic delay. Conservative management is a viable treatment method, with expected return to full function in 3 to 6 months.