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Navicular Stress Reactions in Runners

A Review of Evaluation and Management of a Competitive Athlete

Robert M. Yoho DPM, MS1 and Shevonne K. Wells DPM, MHA1
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  • 1 College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, Des Moines University, Des Moines, IA.
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Navicular stress injuries in athletes can be devastating. Clinical findings are frequently nonspecific until significant progression of the abnormality has occurred. The use of diagnostic imaging techniques early in the discovery period increases the likelihood of establishing an immediate diagnosis and avoids frank fracture of the navicular bone. Delayed diagnosis of navicular stress injuries in athletes can cause dire consequences. The physician must be aware of the injury in establishing a high index of clinical suspicion. The timing and sequencing of diagnostic imaging studies is essential in establishing a diagnosis to manage the patient and minimize time away from competition. This case study examines the history and management of an elite high school track athlete who sustained a navicular stress injury. The timing and use of diagnostic imaging studies is reviewed. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 101(5): 447–451, 2011)

Corresponding author: Robert M. Yoho, DPM, MS, College of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery, Des Moines University, 3200 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312. (E-mail: robert.yoho@dmu.edu)