The Navicular Stress Fracture Problem
A navicular stress fracture poses an interesting and frustrating dilemma.
The navicular bone in the foot sits on top of the heel bone. And it undergoes various stressors, particularly in athletes who perform a lot of jumping and running. But while the navicular bone is exposed to a ton of stress from weight-bearing activities, it also has a lower blood supply when measured against other bones.
This limited blood supply makes a navicular stress fracture slow to heal. Although it may appear as a small injury, it can take up to 12 weeks to fully heal.
And frequently, a navicular stress fracture is rarely detectable right away. This type of injury gradually happens over time due to repeated stress. It’s common in athletes involved in track and field, football, basketball, rugby, ballet, and gymnastics.
Diagnosing a Navicular Stress Fracture
Symptoms also arise on a gradual timeline. Swelling and pain in the midfoot may come and go for months before an individual gets the problem checked out. This frequently happens due to the pain fading with rest but returning when activity is resumed.
Symptoms may further include tenderness on the “N spot,” located between the heel on the bottom of the foot and the arch. When pressed on, it will feel tender which indicates the presence of a navicular stress fracture.
If you suspect a navicular stress fracture, consult with your doctor or a sports specialist. If left untreated for a prolonged duration, this injury can become a nagging and persistent injury resulting in long-term foot pain. Early intervention is critical when it comes to making a full and smooth recovery.
Treating Your Navicular Stress Fracture
Due to the lack of a blood flow to the area, this type of stress fracture often involves a cast for 6 or more weeks. If a cast is not used, your doctor will recommend you stay off your feet until the tenderness has disappeared.
Once you’re past the initial healing phase, physical therapy or a rehabilitation program may be further recommended, especially if your goal is to return to sports. Massage and other manual therapy practitioners may also be included in a comprehensive treatment plan.
Your manual therapists and doctor may also recommend an assessment regarding footwear and equipment used in your training. They may suggest the use of shock-absorbing inserts to give the foot bones additional protection during training or sports. These measures will ensure the injury does not happen again, allowing you to enjoy the activities and sports you love minus the nagging pain from a navicular stress fracture.
I am passionate about fitness and health, and am a strong believer in a holistic approach to incorporating physical activity into one’s lifestyle. I create custom content for brands and companies that align with this perspective.
About Athlete’s Choice Massage
Athlete’s Choice Massage is a modern massage studio. Since opening in 2016, Athlete’s Choice Massage has become an active part of the Edmonton and Sherwood Park community. Our experienced registered massage therapists set the highest standards in massage treatments. With massage therapy being covered by many people’s extended health care benefits, it is now easier than ever to experience the positive effects of therapeutic massage.