Nine delayed unions and nonunion of the proximal fifth metatarsal were treated with pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF). All fractures healed in a mean time of 4 months (range 2-8 months). Those fractures treated with both pulsed electromagnetic fields and a nonweightbearing cast healed in a mean time of 3 months (range 2-4 months). The average duration of follow-up was 39 months (range 24-60 months). There were no refractures. When compared with reported healing times and morbidity for conventional casting, medullary curettage with inlay bone, and closed axial intramedullary screw fixation, pulsed electromagnetic fields provided an effective alternative for the treatment of delayed unions and nonunion of the proximal fifth metatarsal.
Foot Ankle Int 1994 Oct;15(10):552-6
Holmes GB Jr.
University Orthopaedics, Rush Medical School, Chicago, Illinois.