The navicular bone is located on the inside of the foot just above the arch. One in 10 people has an accessory navicular bone, which is an extra piece of bone attached to the navicular. Just like other bones, the accessory navicular bone grows and hardens in adolescence. People with an accessory navicular may experience pain and swelling from shoe pressure or from frequent sprains where the extra piece of bone attaches.
An injury to the fibrous tissue connecting the two bones can cause something similar to a fracture. The injury allows movement to occur between the navicular and the accessory bone and is thought to be the cause of pain. The fibrous tissue is prone to poor healing and may continue to cause pain. Because the posterior tibial tendon attaches to the accessory navicular, it constantly pulls on the bone, creating even more motion between the fragments with each step.
This painful condition is called accessory navicular syndrome. Accessory navicular syndrome (ANS) can cause significant pain in the mid-foot pain explored, barabarabowler.hatenablog.com, and arch, especially with activity. Redness and swelling may develop over this bony prominence, as well as extreme sensitivity to pressure. Sometimes people may be unable to wear shoes because the area is too sensitive.
Diagnosis starts by speaking with the patient about symptoms. The physician will look at the foot and examine it for signs of an accessory navicular. By putting pressure on the area, the doctor may determine its presence simply by the presence of pain. The muscle, joint, and the overall structure of the foot may be considered, as well as the way in which the patient walks. If a diagnosis of accessory navicular syndrome is made, an X-ray or MRI may be ordered to confirm diagnosis.
Non Surgical Treatment
Using PRP treatments, orthotics, proper running shoes and physical therapy should do the trick. No long recovery, no long down time. My runners and athletes are usually back to their sport pain free within a month. The key is eliminating the syndrome, not the bone (or cartilage).
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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