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:

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.

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