(Tarsal Navicular Fracture)
by Krisha McCoy, MS
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 stress fracture unrelated to acute trauma.
Risk Factors TOP
Factors that may increase the chance of a navicular fracture include:
Navicular fracture may cause:
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 the doctor about the best treatment plan. Treatment options include:
Most cases of navicular fracture respond well to being placed in a cast that holds the bones in place. Crutches will be needed to help with walking. Once the bone has healed, a rehabilitation program can help with the return to 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):
Foot Care MD—American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
When it Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
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:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated March 2015. Accessed August 30, 2017.
Last reviewed August 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review BoardWarren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated: 9/30/2013
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.