Accessory navicular syndrome is the painful condition caused by the presence of the accessory navicular. Well, is the statement a bit confusing? Let me explain. The accessory navicular is a bone in the foot that is not supposed to be present. But in some very rare cases, this extra bone (sometimes can also be a cartilage piece) is present by birth. This bone exists in the arch of the foot. The presence of this bone though not common, is not abnormal either as most people are not even aware of its existence unless and until it begins to cause pain which we call accessory navicular syndrome.
Accessory navicular syndrome as it is called can result from a number of causes, excess or overuse syndrome as seen in an athlete. Trauma to the foot as in an ankle sprain or direct trauma to the navicular bone. chronic irritation from shoes rubbing against the extra bone, over time, may cause pain. Excessive pronation which strains the attachment of tibialis posterior muscles into the navicular bone. Keep in mind, the larger the actual accessory bone, the greater the chance of it becoming an issue.
Most people with an accessory navicular do not have symptoms because the bone is so small that it causes no harm, or only develop symptoms after a trauma such as a break or sprain. When symptoms are present they could be a visible bony prominence, pain and throbbing, inflammation and redness, and flat feet.
Keep in mind there are two different types of accessory navicular bones, which you How much can you grow from stretching? distinguish by getting a weightbearing AP X-ray of the foot. Dwight has classified type I as a small, round and discreet accessory bone just proximal to the main navicular bone. Geist described the type II accessory bone, which is closely related to the body of the navicular but separated by an irregular plate of dense fibro-cartilage.
Non Surgical Treatment
Although operative treatment, and removal of the accessory navicular is possible, this is not usually indicated at first. Conservative nonoperative treatment is best, the course depending on the severity of the symptoms. When the pain is very severe, which could indicate a fracture, a period of immobilization might be required. This is done by waring a fracture boot, or a cast, which can help the ossicle stay stable, aiding in healing. Immobilization usually lasts between 4 to 6 weeks. Afterwards, physical therapy exercise, or any appropriate home course, should be used to help strengthen the ankle and return the ankle and foot to full range of motion, and have no pain on movement. Sometimes crutches are used when weight bearing is too painful, but it is best to try to bear weight when possible.
If non-surgical treatment fails to relieve the symptoms of accessory navicular syndrome, surgery may be appropriate. Surgery may involve removing the accessory bone, reshaping the area, and repairing the posterior tibial tendon to improve its function. This extra bone is not needed for normal foot function.
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