The optimal treatment modalities for navicular stress fractures in athletes is currently unknown for this season-ending injury. The present study evaluated factors that might be significant and affect healing outcomes, specifically focusing on the return to activity (RTA) time and a decreased desired activity (DDA) after treatment in athletes. Such considerations included previous navicular stress fractures, patient demographic data and type of sport, and initiation time of treatment. The data from 59 patients with 62 fractures were prospectively analyzed from May 2005 through July 2016. The results showed a significant correlation between a previous navicular stress fracture and decreased desired activity. The average duration of symptoms before receiving definitive treatment was 8.8 months. Computed tomography as the initial imaging modality correlated positively with a correct diagnosis (1.00). In contrast, magnetic resonance imaging, when used initially, was only 71% accurate. Runners constituted most of the cohort at 38 (61.3%). Ten other athletes were involved in jumping sports. Of the 62 injuries, 21 (33.9%) were in elite or professional athletes, all of whom were able to RTA, with 1 patient, a 38-year-old world record holding runner, having a DDA. Seven refractures (11.2%) occurred an average >5 years after the initial injury, predominantly in those aged <21 years, none with previous surgery. Eight patients (12.9%) developed postinjury arthrosis, including 1 with DDA. Patients who underwent open reduction and internal fixation had a RTA of 4.56 months compared with those who had undergone nonoperative treatment, who had an average RTA of 3.97 months. Seven patients (11.2%) underwent screw removal and required a longer RTA. Overall, of the 62 injuries, the patients with 57 of the injuries (91.9%) were able to RTA at their preinjury level.
Level of Clinical Evidence
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Conflict of Interest: None reported.
© 2017 by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. All rights reserved.
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- Commentary on Navicular Stress Fracture Outcomes in Athletes: Analysis of 62 InjuriesThe Journal of Foot and Ankle SurgeryVol. 56Issue 5
- PreviewOne of the most troubling foot issues affecting athletes, and the doctors caring for them, is the navicular stress fracture. A physician treating a patient with this unpredictable entity should be experiencing a fair amount of anxiety; if not, the physician has not treated enough of them. The report in this issue of JFAS, by Saxena et al, helps us define the indications for surgery and the anticipated results. The numbers reported are likely the highest of any non–meta-analysis review. The results illustrate the significant delay in diagnosis that can accompany this entity and the effect that can have on the outcomes.