Auteur: Podiatre Montreal
Treatment of navicular bone fracture
The navicular bone is a bone located between the middle of the foot and the ankle, also known as the scaphoid of the foot, which can be subjected to relatively intense stress that can lead to a sprain of the navicular bone and its symptoms but also to a fracture of the navicular bone. This fracture of the scaphoid of the foot will cause pain in the navicular bone and a swollen area that must be treated to avoid complications. In this context, it is essential to consult a specialist who will be able to diagnose a sprain, a fracture of the navicular bone or a Chopart’s sprain and propose the appropriate treatment whether it is surgery, immobilization, orthotics or rehabilitation.
Symptoms and causes of a navicular bone fracture
Fractures of the navicular bone are very often misdiagnosed as they are relatively rare, but they can lead to long-term complications if not treated properly.
The navicular bone is at the top of the inner arch of the foot and is therefore highly stressed when propelling the foot during walking and cushioning the foot when it comes into contact with the ground. Most of the time, this fracture of the carpal scaphoid of the foot is related to the practice of certain sports such as sports walking, running or sports requiring repeated jumps, in this case it is often referred to as a fatigue fracture. However, fracture of the navicular bone can also occur following a fall. This pathology will have many consequences such as functional impotence resulting in difficulty in moving the foot, but also pain in the navicular bone. The latter will most often occur during sports activity, especially during jumps and impulses and when standing on tiptoes. The pain will disappear at rest and during milder activities such as walking. Generally, the pain will appear gradually, but sometimes it can be triggered abruptly with a cracking sensation during an intense effort such as a jump or an impulse.
Diagnosis is often tricky, as the fracture can be confused with a tendonitis of the insertion of the leg and is difficult to see during medical imaging examinations. In fact, classic radiographs rarely allow a clear view of the fracture, but other imaging exams can be useful for diagnosis, such as scintigraphy, which is very sensitive, or bone scans that allow us to establish the exact fracture, size, etc. A clinical examination is also performed to detect passive prognostic pain, pain on palpation, but also bruising or swelling and deformity of the foot resulting in an enlarged foot and a shortened forefoot. All these examinations must be performed by a specialist of this part of the body who will be able to establish the diagnosis and propose a suitable treatment.
Possible complications of an untreated fracture
The fracture of the navicular bone of the foot needs to be treated as well as possible in order to avoid the possible complications related to it and which can be really disabling in the long run. The after-effects of an untreated fracture are indeed numerous and can be serious. The fractured and untreated bone can thus lead to acute pain or even chronic pain of varying degrees of severity. Hypertrophic calluses can appear, which can be an obstacle to putting on shoes, but also plantar calluses can develop due to excessive and repeated support, which can cause significant pain.
Furthermore, if the fracture is not detected, it is possible that a collapse of the internal arch may occur due to poor consolidation of the foot and ankle joint. In the most severe cases and in the absence of diagnosis and appropriate treatment, bone necrosis may occur, which is particularly dangerous. The navicular bone and its fracture or displacement must therefore be identified as soon as possible in order to avoid all these unfortunate consequences. The fracture of the navicular bone of the foot must therefore be treated appropriately according to its degree of severity, and as soon as possible.
When to consult and treatment of navicular bone
As previously mentioned, navicular bone fractures are rather difficult to diagnose and can often go unnoticed and be overlooked since the fracture rarely manifests itself abruptly, but will very often result in pain appearing only during effort, i.e. during jumps and the practice of certain sports, these pains in waves are good clues and must be considered as signs of a call for consultation. Similarly, when you feel pain above the foot or pain on the top of the foot, it is preferable to consult as soon as possible to check the joint and the presence or absence of a fatigue fracture of the foot.
In these cases, it is recommended that you make an appointment with a professional as soon as possible, so do not hesitate to contact us today if you suffer from any of these symptoms to make an appointment at our Montreal clinic. Our professionals will then be able to make the diagnosis and propose treatments to facilitate bone healing.
Initially, if the fracture is recent and not very significant, consolidation and immobilization may be proposed. Also, in some cases a thumb splint may be the most appropriate solution. When the fracture is more severe and a significant displacement of the bone is detected, surgery may be proposed, and may also be indicated after immobilization that has failed to heal the fracture. Finally, if it is only a sprain or the beginning of bone displacement without a fracture, specialists such as podiatrists can propose insoles as a preventive measure to avoid a fracture from occurring later on.