Navicular Fracture
En Español (Spanish Version)

Definition
A navicular fracture is a fracture of the navicular bone of the foot, a bone on the top of the midfoot. Athletes are particularly susceptible to fractures of the navicular bone. (There is also a navicular bone in the wrist.)

Navicular Bone of the Foot

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Causes
A navicular fracture can be caused by a fall, severe twist, or direct trauma to the navicular bone. It can also be caused by repeated stress to the foot, creating a stress fracture unrelated to acute trauma.

Risk Factors
Factors that may increase your chance of a navicular fracture include:

Symptoms
Navicular fracture may cause:

  • Vague, aching pain in the top, middle portion of your foot, which may radiate along your arch
  • Increasing pain with activity
  • Pain on one foot only
  • Altered gait
  • Pain that resolves with rest
  • Swelling of the foot
  • Tenderness to touch on the inside aspect of the foot
Diagnosis
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done, which will include a thorough examination of your foot.

Imaging tests evaluate the foot and surrounding structures. These may include:

Treatment
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:

Nonsurgical Treatment
Most cases of navicular fracture respond well to being placed in a cast that holds the bones in place. You will need to use crutches to help you walk. Once the bone has healed, your doctor will recommend a rehabilitation program that will allow you to eventually return to your normal activities.

Surgery
In rare cases of severe fracture, you may need surgery to realign the bone. This involves placing a metal plate and/or screws or pins to hold the bone in place. You will need to wear a cast or splint after the surgery. You will also need to use crutches to help you walk.

Prevention
To help reduce your chance of a navicular fracture (or other foot fractures):

  • Wear properly fitting, supportive shoes appropriate for the type of activity you are doing
  • Do weight-bearing exercises to build strong bones
  • Build strong muscles and practice balancing exercises to prevent falls



RESOURCES:
Foot Care MD—American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society

Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

CANADIAN RESOURCES:
Canadian Orthopaedic Association

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation

References:
Coris EE, Lombardo JA. Tarsal navicular stress fractures. Am Fam Physician. 2003;67(1):85-91.

Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00379. Updated July 2009. Accessed August 21, 2014.

Last Reviewed August 2014



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