222161 Health Library | Health and Wellness | Wellmont Health System
  • Navicular Fracture

    (Tarsal Navicular Fracture)

    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
    si55550253 97870 1 Navicular Bone Foot
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    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 fracture not due to any acute trauma (a stress fracture ).

    Risk Factors

    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

    Symptoms of a navicular fracture include:
    • 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, and perform a physical exam, which will include a thorough examination of your foot. Other tests may include:
    • X-ray —a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body, especially bones
    • Bone scan—a test that creates an image of the bones by using a low-dose radioactive substance injected into a vein
    • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body
    • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body. This is particularly useful with stress fractures.

    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 prevent navicular fractures and other fractures of the foot:
    • Wear well-fitting, supportive shoes appropriate for the type of activity you are doing.
    • Eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D.
    • Do weight-bearing exercises to build strong bones.
    • Build strong muscles and practice balancing exercises to prevent falls.

    RESOURCES

    American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://www.aaos.org

    American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society http://www.aofas.org

    CANADIAN RESOURCES

    Canadian Orthopaedic Association http://www.coa-aco.org

    Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation http://www.canorth.org

    References

    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.aaos.org/fact/thr%5Freport.cfm?Thread%5FID=367&topcategory=Foot . Accessed June 26, 2007.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.