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Orthopedic Services
Glendale Adventist Medical Center
1509 Wilson Terrace
Glendale, CA 91206
Ph: (818) 409-8000

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I have a broken bone in my foot -- actually kind of between the ankle and the foot. According to the orthopedic surgeon it's the navicular bone and it's a stress fracture. I'll be off the foot for six weeks. I admit I like to push the envelope on most things. Is it possible to speed up recovery? I'm anxious to get back on my feet and going.

Stress fractures are breaks in the bone that occur with repetitive motions, strains, or stresses. Navicular stress fractures are fairly uncommon. The person at greatest risk for this type of fracture is a high-level athlete engaged in activities that involve repeated push-off of the foot. Track and field runners head the list for this type of injury. Rate of recovery depends somewhat on a couple of factors -- the location of the fracture and severity of the break. Fractures in the middle of the navicular bone tend to heal slower because the blood supply there is limited. More severe fractures go completely through the bone. If the fracture site separates, then the fracture becomes displaced. Surgery is usually required for complete, displaced fractures. Recovery takes time and weight-bearing is limited in order to give the bone a chance to heal. Most bone fractures take six to eight weeks to heal enough to bear your full weight. There are some studies showing athletes return to sports with restricted activity but able to put weight on the foot. The average time reported for return-to-play following this type of fracture is about five and a half months. A more aggressive approach after surgery has gotten some players back on the field in about four month's time. The thing you want to be careful of is developing a displaced fracture that doesn't heal (nonunion). Following your physician's directions and guidance is the best way to ensure a successful recovery. Talk with your surgeon before adding activities and weight to that foot. If he or she gives you the go-ahead, then fine. If not, there could be serious consequences of too-early or too aggressive return to activities.


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