Can Accessory Navicular Syndrome Be Uncomfortable

Overview

Not everyone has the same number of bones in his feet. It is not uncommon for both the hands and the feet to contain extra small accessory bones, or ossicles, that sometimes cause problems. This guide will help you understand where the accessory navicular is located, why the extra bone can cause problems and how doctors treat the condition.

Accessory Navicular Syndrome

Causes

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.

Symptoms

One obvious problem with the accessory navicular is that it may be large and stick out from the inside of the foot. This can cause it to rub against shoes and so become quite painful. The fibrous connection between the accessory navicular and the navicualar, as well, is easy to injure, also leading to pain. This is kind of like a fracture, and such injuries cause the bone to move around too easily, leading to pain with activity. When the connection between the bones is injured in this way, the two bones do not always heal properly, so pain may continue unabated.

Diagnosis

A foot and ankle surgeon can diagnose accessory navicular syndrome by conducting a physical exam. X-rays and MRIs may be taken to access the condition and confirm the diagnosis of accessory navicular.

Non Surgical Treatment

Many individuals with symptomatic accessory naviculars can be managed successfully without surgery. Standard non-surgical treatment includes shoes that are soft around the inside of the ankle can allow for any excess prominence of bone. Therefore, it is recommended that either shoes with plenty of padding and space in the ankle area are purchased, or pre-owned shoes can be modified by a shoemaker to create extra space in this area. For example, many patients will get their ski boots expanded in the area around the prominence, minimizing irritation. In addition, a shoe with a stiff sole will help disperse force away from the arch of the foot during walking, thereby minimizing the force on the posterior tibial tendon. An off-the-shelf arch support may help decrease the stress applied by the posterior tibial tendon. If necessary, an ankle brace applied to provide more substantial support to the arch may be successful where a simple arch support fails.

Accessory Navicular

Surgical Treatment

After the anesthesia is administered you will be heavily sedated and placed on your stomach. Surgeons will place a tourniquet around your thigh and an incision will be made on the inside of the foot. The posterior tibial tendon will be moved as necessary and the accessory navicular will be removed. Surgeons will repair the posterior tibial tendon with sutures or suture anchors, and the wound will be closed. A splint will be placed on the foot for stabilization and immobilization. You will be permitted to leave the surgical center once you have been cleared by the anesthesiologist. Plan ahead to have a friend or family member take your prescription to a pharmacy to pick up your post-op medication. Use narcotic pain medications before bed or if numbness in your foot begins to dull. Schedule a post-op visit for 4 weeks after the procedure.