• Navicular Fracture

    (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.)
    Navicular Bone of the Foot
    si55550253 97870 1 Navicular Bone Foot
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


    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:
    • Trauma
    • High-impact sports, such as track and field, gymnastics, tennis, or basketball
    • Being an adolescent
    • In women, abnormal or absent menstrual cycles
    • Military recruits
    • Osteoporosis or other bone conditions


    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


    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:


    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.


    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 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


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

    Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.org


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

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


    Coris EE, Lombardo JA. Tarsal navicular stress fractures. Am Fam Physician. 2003;67(1):85-91.

    Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00379. Updated July 2009. Accessed August 21, 2014.

    Revision Information

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