The accessory navicular (os navicularum or os tibiale externum) is an extra bone or piece of cartilage located on the inner side of the foot just above the arch. It is incorporated within the posterior tibial tendon, which attaches in this area. An accessory navicular is congenital (present at birth). It is not part of normal bone structure and therefore is not present in most people. People who have an accessory navicular often are unaware of the condition if it causes no problems. However, some people with this extra bone develop a painful condition known as accessory navicular syndrome when the bone and/or posterior tibial tendon are aggravated. 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 produce inflammation or irritation of the accessory navicular.
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 produce inflammation or irritation of the accessory navicular.
A visible bony lump on the inner part of the foot, towards the middle, just above the arch of the foot. Redness, swelling, and sensitivity of the bony prominence. Pain or throbbing in the middle of the foot and the arch. Difficulty with foot movement and activity. Possible skin callous or skin irritation caused by footwear rubbing over the lump. Not everyone who has an accessory navicular will develop these problems. When problems do occur, they may begin in early adolescence. The obvious indication is a painful bump on the inside of the foot, which hurts to touch, and causes problems that gradually become worse, and which are aggravated by activity, walking, etc., leading to all the problems discussed here. Pain may be worse towards the end of the day, and continue into the night.
To diagnose accessory navicular syndrome, the foot and ankle surgeon will ask about symptoms and examine the foot, looking for skin irritation or s welling. The doctor may press on the bony prominence to assess the area for discomfort. Foot structure, muscle strength, joint motion, and the way the patient walks may also be evaluated. X-rays are usually ordered to confirm the diagnosis. If there is ongoing pain or inflammation, an MRI or other advanced imaging tests may be used to further evaluate the condition.
Non Surgical Treatment
The goal of non-surgical treatment for accessory navicular syndrome is to relieve the symptoms. The following may be used. Immobilization. Placing the How does Achilles tendonitis occur? foot in a cast or removable walking boot allows the affected area to rest and decreases the inflammation. Ice. To reduce swelling, a bag of ice covered with a thin towel is applied to the affected area. Do not put ice directly on the skin. Medications. Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be prescribed. In some cases, oral or injected steroid medications may be used in combination with immobilization to reduce pain and inflammation. Physical therapy. Physical therapy may be prescribed, including exercises and treatments to strengthen the muscles and decrease inflammation. The exercises may also help prevent recurrence of the symptoms. Orthotic devices. Custom orthotic devices that fit into the shoe provide support for the arch, and may play a role in preventing future symptoms. Even after successful treatment, the symptoms of accessory navicular syndrome sometimes reappear. When this happens, non-surgical approaches are usually repeated.
Once the navicular inflammation has lessened it is not necessary to perform surgery unless the foot becomes progressively flatter or continues to be painful. For these children, surgery can completely correct the problem by removing the accessory navicular bone and tightening up the posterior tibial tendon that attaches to the navicular bone. The strength of this tendon is integral to the success of this surgery as well as the arch of the foot. Following surgery the child is able to begin walking on the foot (in a cast) at approximately two weeks. The cast is worn for an additional four weeks. A small soft ankle support brace is then put into the shoe and worn with activities and exercise for a further two months.
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