What Is a Navicular Fracture

A navicular fracture occurs when one or both of your bones are broken through the skin. These fractures can occur anywhere along the foot, but they most commonly happen in the toes. They’re called navicular because they break off from the bone just above them (the big toe) and travel down into your big toe. When it happens to your big toe, you may have pain and swelling at that spot. If it happens to your other big toe, you might not notice any difference. But if it’s only happened to one of your big toes, then you’ll probably experience some numbness there. You could even lose feeling in that part of your foot. Sometimes the injury isn’t so bad and doesn’t require surgery; sometimes it requires surgery and a long recovery period.

What Does a Navicular Fracture Feel Like?

A navicular fracture feels like a sharp pain in your big toe. It hurts pretty much everywhere else too. And it will usually go away without surgery. Your doctor may put you on medication to make the pain less severe or give you a shot of anesthesia so that you don’t wake up with the sensation of having been stabbed in the foot! The best way to describe it is that it’s like getting hit in the head with a hammer or something hard. It’s going to be sore somewhere, but the hammer probably won’t go through your foot. And it’s going to hurt when you put weight on your foot, and it’s not going to get better until you get treatment.

What Does It Feel Like to Walk on a Navicular Fracture?

You’re probably wondering what it feels like to walk on a broken bone. There are a few options here. It’s going to hurt, obviously, but that pain is going to come and go, which makes it all the worse. You might have a fractured bone that doesn’t break the skin. In this case, you probably wouldn’t even notice anything different. This is called an “open” fracture, and it requires much more serious treatment than a fracture that isn’t open. A physician or emergency room staff will look for exposed bone in order to make this distinction.

There are a few things that will make this experience more bearable. The first is making sure the bone is properly set, which involves immobilizing it and wrapping it up to allow it to heal in the correct position. A brace can also help you walk without putting pressure on the bone. In some cases, a walking boot or cast is sufficient.

It’s also helpful to put ice on it a few times every day if you can (be sure not to use ice directly on your skin for longer than 10 minutes at a time). It’s also important to elevate the foot as much as possible so the blood flow is redirected toward the rest of your body and away from the injured area.

How Do You Know You Have a Broken Foot?

There are many different symptoms that can signify a broken bone. The most common symptom is obviously the pain, which tends to worsen when putting weight on your foot. There may be bruising in the area, and you may also see that the skin has become discolored. The skin may look puffy or “squishy” in that area as well. You may have trouble moving your foot and you may also feel numbness there. You may also have trouble standing up or walking. If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to see a physician right away.

Sources & references used in this article:

Late reconstruction after navicular fracture by MJ Penner – Foot and ankle clinics, 2006 – foot.theclinics.com

A prospective study identifying the sensitivity of radiographic findings and the efficacy of clinical findings in carpal navicular fractures by JF Waeckerle – Annals of emergency medicine, 1987 – Elsevier

Isolated tarsal navicular fracture dislocation: a case report by AA Mathesul, DV Sonawane… – Foot & ankle …, 2012 – journals.sagepub.com

The navicular fat stripe: a useful roentgen feature for evaluating wrist trauma by DW TERRY JR, JE RAMIN – American Journal of …, 1975 – Am Roentgen Ray Soc

Talonavicular dislocation and nondisplaced fracture of the navicular by E Samoladas, H Fotiades, J Christoforides… – Archives of orthopaedic …, 2005 – Springer

Fracture of the carpal navicular—efficacy of clinical findings and improved diagnosis with six-view radiography by M Mehta, MW Brautigan – Annals of emergency medicine, 1990 – Elsevier

Delayed unions and nonunions of stress fractures in athletes by S Orava, A Hulkko – The American journal of sports medicine, 1988 – journals.sagepub.com