The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Glamorous Basketballers, Ballerinas, and Daredevils Do It Too: Navicular Bone Fracture Rehab

Posted by on Monday, December 10th, 2012


A while back I wrote about navicular bone fracture: a nasty injury to the bones in the top of the foot. Unless you’re a professional athlete (which most of us are, right?), or you have access to your own personal medical laboratory (President Obama, I’m looking at you), you probably aren’t getting MRIs for every twinge in your feet. So, this pesky injury can fester and pester until you’re driven crazy by the phantom pains (there when you exercise, gone when you don’t). If you’re active, you’ll eventually find yourself in the doctor’s waiting room about to subject yourself to a full body magnet while they pipe in 80’s ballads over the loudspeaker. Take my word for it. They always pipe in 80’s ballads during MRIs. When last we visited this topic I stopped short of discussing what happens after a navicular fracture. Well, hold onto your hats true believers, because we’re about to get real.


Stress fractures take forever to heal. You might as well get some popcorn and like twenty-five seasons of classic television, since you’ll be in a cast for about six weeks. (Or go stuff your face at tomorrow’s amazing Tasting Table Food Fight at Brooklyn’s Powerhouse Arena. It’s enough to take anyone’s mind off their navicular! Obviously, I’m kind of excited about it.) Anyway, the best part of navicular bone fractures: you can’t participate in any weight bearing activities. No walking cast for you! At the end of the six weeks, your doctor will remove the cast to examine your shriveled up foot (if you’re anything like me, you can expect a delightful leg hair forest as well). If you have any residual pain, the cast will probably go back on for another couple of weeks. If you’re looking for a podiatrist, try The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900).




And now for a little strength training. Navicular rehabilitation is kind of like the injury itself: annoying, persistent, and tedious.

  • You’ll start with very limited weight bearing and low-impact exercises like swimming, cycling, and water running.
  • Ankle circles plus the use of a resistance band to strengthen the muscles surrounding your navicular bone will help with stability in the leg.
  • When you can put your full weight on the foot, balancing exercises will help you build strength in your foot while you regain some of your cat like poise.
  • If you have excessive pronation (a risk factor for stress fractures in the navicular bone) this will need to be corrected before you can resume normal activities.




If you’re a high level athlete, a bone graph might be just the thing. For navicular fractures that don’t heal properly, displaced fractures, or for people who expect to continue punishing their feet with savage regularity, your doctor might recommend a bone graft, bone graft substitute, or screw. These treatments insure that the bone is perfectly positioned and can help to prevent future fractures.



If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.