Navicular Fracture: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment- Cast, Sports Massage, Rehab
The navicular bone lies on top of the calcaneus or the heel bone. It is a tarsal bone in the ankle. Navicular stress fracture is a common injury occurring in athletes who are involved in those sports which require forceful movements such as sprinting, jumping, hurdling or playing basketball.
Symptoms of Navicular Fracture
- Pain in the midfoot region with activity.
- Swelling may be present.
- Change in gait.
- Tenderness to touch in the interior region of the foot.
- Pain subsides with rest and returns back with any activity or exercise.
- Pain upon pressure on the top of the foot over the navicular bone (N spot).
- The fracture is not always visible on x-ray. So, a bone scan or MRI should be done to confirm the diagnosis.
Causes of Fracture
- Severe fall.
- Twisting motion.
- Direct trauma or injury to the navicular bone.
- Repeated stress to the foot.
- Risk Factors Include: High-impact sports, adolescence, osteoporosis or other bone disorders, menstrual abnormalities/irregularities in women.
Treatment for Navicular Fracture
- X-rays, MRI or CT scan confirms the diagnosis.
- Rest should be taken and weight bearing should be avoided and the foot should be immobilized by placing a cast for at least 6 weeks.
- If pain or tenderness is still present after 6 weeks, then the cast is kept further for 2 more weeks with non-weight bearing.
- Patient should enroll in a rehab program to increase mobility and reduce stiffness of the ankle joint.
- Deep tissue sports massage can be done to the calf muscles by a professional.
- Strengthening exercises should be started for the ankle and lower leg.
- Athlete should return gradually to full activity and training. Any overpronation should be corrected before starting full training.
- Surgery is required if the bone is not healed with conservative methods.