One of the most common types of stress fractures among athletes is a navicular stress fracture. The navicular is a bone the size of a nickel that lies on the top of the foot where it meets the leg. This injury is most often caused by sports that involve a lot of explosive movements, sudden changes in direction, jumping and running like track and field, soccer and basketball.
Symptoms start out as a mild aching in the mid-foot, particularly during exercise, which goes away with rest. In more advanced cases, even walking may become painful. You might also feel pain when you press the top of the foot over the navicular bone.
Most patients cannot remember any specific injury that led to the pain, but instead just remember an increasing discomfort over time. Unfortunately, this means the diagnosis is usually delayed, so many navicular stress fractures will worsen before they are treated.
This type of stress fracture is often misdiagnosed because it does not normally show up on an X-ray. So it’s important to see a podiatrist if you are experiencing these symptoms. We’ll either do a bone scan or MRI to get a better look and determine if it is a navicular stress fracture.
If that’s the diagnosis, this isn’t a quick fix. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Navicular stress fractures require the foot to be immobilized in a non-weight bearing cast for six to eight weeks, followed by a gradual return to activity over another six week period. So you’re looking at a minimum of three months on the bench while recovering.
If you are experiencing any type of foot or ankle pain, please call our office at 859-264-1411 for an appointment.
If you are experiencing foot pain, call our office or make an online appointment
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