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.

Navicular Fracture

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 Navicular 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.
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 16, 2018

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