Navicular Stress Fracture
The navicular bone is a tarsal bone in the ankle which sits on top of the calcaneus or heel bone. A stress fracture of this bone is one of the more common stress fractures seen in the feet of athletes, especially those involved in sprinting, jumping or hurdling.
Navicular Stress Fracture Symptoms
Symptoms of a navicular stress fracture include a poorly localized midfoot ache that is worse with exercise. The pain goes away quickly with rest only to return again during exercise. Pain is felt when the thumb is pressed into the top of the foot over the navicular, sometimes called the N spot. An X-ray may or may not show the appearance of a stress fracture therefore a bone scan or MRI is of more use.
- Non weight bearing immobilization in a cast for 6 weeks.
- After 6 weeks the 'N' spot is felt. If it is tender then the cast is re-appied for a further 2 weeks non weight bearing.
What about rehabilitation?
- Mobilization of the stiff ankle joint.
- Deep tissue sports massage to the calf muscles.
- Strengthening exercises for the ankle and lower leg.
- A gradual return to full activity and training over a 6 week period.
Excessive pronation needs to be corrected before full training resumes.