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.
This can result from any of the following. Trauma, as in a foot or ankle sprain. Chronic irritation from shoes or other footwear rubbing against the extra bone. Excessive activity or overuse. Many people with accessory navicular syndrome also have flat feet (fallen arches). Having a flat foot puts more strain on the posterior tibial tendon, which Can you grow taller with exercise? produce inflammation or irritation of the accessory navicular.
Symptoms of this syndrome would include redness, swelling and tenderness over the navicular bone. The navicular bone is located on the inside of the foot approximately midway between the ankle bone and big toe joint. It will tend to be worse after activity and can be aggravated by those that wear very dressy shoes as opposed to casual shoes like sneakers. In other words, the flatter or less supportive the shoe, the greater the chance for pain.
During your clinical exam, you may note erythema to the navicular prominence area and a foot that collapses in stance. While it?s common to see flat feet with these patients, this may not always be the case. You will note a significant difference in the off-weightbearing arch compared to the foot in stance, which is lower. These patients will always have pain to the navicular bone, especially at the major insertion of the posterior tibial tendon just proximal and also inferior to the navicular bone. You may also find they have pain on resisted adduction.
Non Surgical Treatment
The initial treatment approach for accessory navicular is non-operative. An orthotic may be recommended or the patient may undergo a brief period of casting to rest the foot. For chronic pain, however, the orthopedic surgeon removes the extra bone, a relatively simple surgery with a brief rehabilitation period and a very good success rate.
The above non-surgical options should be enough to treat accessory navicular syndrome. If they fail, a surgery would be necessary to remove the extra bone that has been causing the problems. The most common procedure for this condition is known as the Kidner procedure where a small incision is made over the navicular bone. The accessory navicular is identified and dissected free from the posterior tibial tendon. The posterior tibial tendon is then reattached to the remaining navicular bone.
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