Q: How to Rehab (and/or Survive) a Navicular Injury?
I stumbled across this website and had a question regarding a navicular injury that I sustained. I shattered it, was in a backslab for 4 weeks until surgery, then I had a cast for 6 weeks and now i’ve been prescribed a cam boot.
I’ve found though that walking without the boot in a regular shoe is easier and much less painful, should I stick with the boot? Or just go with whatever feels comfortable? I’ve only been on my foot for 5 days now and I understand that muscles need to be rebuilt from atrophy, but how can i do that if i can’t put pressure on the leg? My patience is wearing very thin and I’m starting to feel as if recovery is slim. Got any advice?
There is frustratingly little information out there about navicular injuries and what the best way to treat them is. I’m sorry you’ve joined the club, but I’ll tell you that since I had mine operated on in 2008, I’ve met several other world class athletes who have recovered well from a navicular fracture. We inevitably end up sharing war stories, and every person’s experience is different. That makes it pretty tough to give concrete advice to you.
Please, if you are reading this and have knowledge in this area, post it as a comment below.
I personally recommend you do whatever you need to do to stay patient, and treat your injury with respect. It does end some people’s careers, but all you can do is give it every chance to heal, and not take out your overall frustration on the foot.
This was very very hard for me to do. After 8 weeks on crutches, then a scan that showed it still wasn’t healed, then surgery…I was faced with 10-12 more weeks between a wheelchair and crutches in a cam boot, and the frustration was unlike anything else. There was a possibility that I could do everything right and still not be able to return to running, which kind of made me say, “What’s the point?” You will be temped to be reckless with it as a reaction to act like you care less, but the fact is you DO care. VERY MUCH.
Stay strong upstairs and keep summoning patience. Treat your foot like its a princess. You have a long road ahead of you to recover, and that sucks, but the key to getting healthy is accepting your crappy situation for what it is and developing a long term strategy to return to form. For me it took 20 months, but it was worth the wait, and now I never feel it. I don’t worry about it at all. I am truly cured.
The boot is meant to be uncomfortable because you aren’t meant to walk very much. If you do walk, it protects you, but you are still not meant to walk very much. You won’t get much increased strength from walking this way, so it is critical that you boost your rehab, especially in non-weight bearing positions. When you are sitting around, move it around like crazy, rub between all the bones and ligaments and tendons, develop the little muscles in your feet through various non-weight bearing motions, and work your calf and lower leg muscles with a theraband.
I recommend you get a good physical therapist on your side that understands your urgency to maintain as much strength as possible through your recovery period, and get that person to make you an aggressive but smart plan. I went to San Francisco for two weeks to work with Lisa Gianonne and her awesome staff at Active Care, and it gave me a great start as I transitioned out of the boot. I only wish I would have started with them while I still had the boot on…probably would have saved me months in the long run. DEFINITELY START YOUR REHAB BEFORE YOU GET OUT OF THE BOOT!
Hope that helps Marko. Stay positive. I’m living proof that you can return to form after this setback.
P.S. Do you have expertise in this area? Personal experience? Navicular survivor? Victim? Please share your knowledge or links to helpful resources on here by commenting. There is frustratingly little available online about this subject and every time someone sustains one of these injuries, they have to go through a bleak, dark time with very little guidance. Thanks in advance.