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. 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.
Just having an accessory navicular bone is not necessarily a bad thing. Not all people with these accessory bones have symptoms. Symptoms arise when the accessory navicular is overly large or when an injury disrupts the fibrous tissue between the navicular and the accessory navicular. A very large accessory navicular can cause a bump on the instep that rubs on your shoe causing pain.
Possible symptoms of accessory navicular syndrome include redness or swelling in the area of the accessory navicular, and pain that is present around the middle of the foot around the arch. Discomfort is most often present following periods of exercise or prolonged walking or standing. The bone may be somewhat visible on the inside of the foot above the arch. Most symptoms of accessory navicular syndrome first appear in childhood around the time of adolescence as the bones are still growing and developing. For some with an accessory navicular, though, symptoms may not appear until entering adulthood.
Your podiatrist will most likely diagnose accessory navicular syndrome by making a visual study of the area, checking whether the shape of your foot and your ability to move it indicate there?s an accessory navicular lurking around. He or she may push on the prominence on your foot to check to see if it hurts, and may ask you to walk around in order to ascertain How long does Achilles tendonitis last for? your gait is affected. In order to get a certain diagnosis, your podiatrist will need some way to see the inside of your foot, which will most likely involve getting X-rays, or possibly an MRI or some other scan of your foot?s interior.
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 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.
If conservative measures do not seem to help, however, you may need to have surgery to make adjustments to the bump. This could include reshaping the little bone, repairing damage to the posterior tibial tendon, or even removing the accessory navicular altogether.