A new and reliable classification system for fractures of the navicular and associated injuries to the midfoot

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Abstract

Aims

Fractures of the navicular can occur in isolation but, owing to the intimate anatomical and biomechanical relationships, are often associated with other injuries to the neighbouring bones and joints in the foot. As a result, they can lead to long-term morbidity and poor function. Our aim in this study was to identify patterns of injury in a new classification system of traumatic fractures of the navicular, with consideration being given to the commonly associated injuries to the midfoot.

Patients and Methods

We undertook a retrospective review of 285 consecutive patients presenting over an eightyear period with a fracture of the navicular. Five common patterns of injury were identified and classified according to the radiological features. Type 1 fractures are dorsal avulsion injuries related to the capsule of the talonavicular joint. Type 2 fractures are isolated avulsion injuries to the tuberosity of the navicular. Type 3 fractures are a variant of tarsometatarsal fracture/dislocations creating instability of the medial ray. Type 4 fractures involve the body of the navicular with no associated injury to the lateral column and type 5 fractures occur in conjunction with disruption of the midtarsal joint with crushing of the medial or lateral, or both, columns of the foot.

Results

In order to test the reliability and reproducibility of this new classification, a cohort of 30 patients with a fracture of the navicular were classified by six independent assessors at two separate times, six months apart. Interobserver reliability and intraobserver reproducibility both had substantial agreement, with kappa values of 0.80 and 0.72, respectively.

Conclusion

We propose a logical, all-inclusive, and mutually exclusive classification system for fractures of the navicular that gives associated injuries involving the lateral column due consideration. We have shown that this system is reliable and reproducible and have described the rationale for the subsequent treatment of each type.

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