(Tarsal Navicular Fracture)
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.)
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 fracture not due to any acute trauma (a stress fracture).
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition.
The following factors may increase your risk of a navicular fracture:
Symptoms of a navicular fracture include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam, which will include a thorough examination of your foot. Other tests may include:
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.
To prevent navicular fractures and other fractures of the foot:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Coris EE, Lombardo JA. Tarsal navicular stress fractures. American Family Physician website. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/20030101/85.pdf . Accessed June 26, 2007.
Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.a... . Accessed June 26, 2007.
Last reviewed September 2012 by John C. Keel, MD