Navicular Fracture

(Tarsal Navicular Fracture)


A navicular fracture is a break in the navicular bone on the top of the midfoot.

Navicular Bone of the Foot

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Causes may be:

  • A direct blow to the foot, such as from falling and landing heavily
  • A severe twist
  • Repetitive stress to the foot

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in people who play high-impact sports, such as running, tennis, basketball, or gymnastics.


Problems may be:

  • Swelling and pain of midfoot
  • Pain with activity, such as walking
  • Pain that gets better with rest


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You may be asked about any injury you have had or any activities that you do. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on your foot.

Images may be done of the foot. This can be done with:


It will take about 6 weeks for most people to heal. The goals of treatment are to manage pain and support the bone as it heals. This may include:

  • Medicine to ease pain and swelling
  • A cast to keep the bone in place as it heals
  • Crutches to take weight off of the foot
  • Exercises to help with strength and range of motion


Some people may need surgery when other methods do not help. A metal plate and screws or pins will be used to reconnect the pieces of bone and hold them in place. This is not common.


This problem cannot always be prevented. Starting a new sport slowly may help lower the risk of injury. Healthy bones and muscles may also help. This may be done through diet and exercise.


Foot Care MD—American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons


When it Hurts to Move—Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation


Abu-Laban RB, Rose NGW. Ankle and Foot. In: Marx, Hockberger, Walls, eds. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Mosby; 2013.
Navicular fracture—emergency. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dyname.... Accessed December 6, 2019.
Stress fractures of the foot and ankle. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at:
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Updated March 2015. Accessed December 6, 2019.
Last reviewed September 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Laura Lei-Rivera, PT, DPT, GCS
Last Updated: 7/17/2020

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