The foot has more than 30 joints, which are held together by connective tissues. Ligaments are one type of connective tissue. Composed of collagen, ligaments are responsible for attaching bones to other bones. The spring ligament, also known as the plantar calcaneonavicular ligament, is a thick band of fibers that connects the calcaneus, or heel bone, to the navicular bone, which is located at the top of the foot.
The main functions of the spring ligament are to support to the foot and stabilize the longitudinal arch of the foot, which allows a person to bear the full weight of his or her body when standing. Injuries or tears to the spring ligament may result in adult-acquired flatfoot, requiring treatment that may include surgical spring ligament repair. Often this is combined with treatment of a posterior tibial tendon tear.
Causes of Spring Ligament Injuries
Spring ligament injuries are caused by a variety of factors, including trauma to the foot or as a progressive flatfoot caused by tear of the posterior tibia tendon.
Spring ligament injuries usually characterized by symptoms such as swelling along the bottom of the foot, deep aches or pain and difficulty bearing weight on the foot. Failure of the spring ligament to support the longitudinal arch may eventually result in adult-acquired flatfoot, or a fallen arch, which spring ligament repair can be used to prevent or correct.
MRI imaging exams are typically performed to diagnose spring ligament tears.
The Spring Ligament Repair Procedure
The precise method of spring ligament repair performed depends on the severity of the injury. The ligament can be repaired, or reconstructed using a tendon transfer.
Recovery from Spring Ligament Repair
Since spring ligament repair is often combined with a flatfoot reconstruction, recovery involves typically six weeks of non weightbearing then a walking boot. Physical therapy is required for optimal result, and recovery can take up to 9-12 months.