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 What is the tendon at the back of your ankle? 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.
Like all painful conditions, ANS has a root cause. The cause could be the accessory navicular bone itself producing irritation from shoes or too much activity. Often, however, it is related to injury of one of the structures that attach to the navicular bone. Structures that attach to the navicular bone include abductor hallucis muscle, plantar calcaneonavicular ligament (spring ligament) parts of the deltoid ligament, posterior tibial tendon.
Symptoms of accessory navicular syndrome often appear in adolescence, when bones are maturing. Symptoms include A visible bony prominence on the midfoot, Redness and swelling, Vague pain or throbbing in the arch, especially after physical activity.
Accessory navicular syndrome is diagnosed by asking about symptoms and examining the foot for skin irritation and swelling. Doctors may assess the area for discomfort by pressing on the bony prominence. Foot structure, muscle strength, joint motion and walking patterns may also be evaluated.
Non Surgical Treatment
Ideally, getting rid of the symptoms of accessory navicular syndrome will involve soothing the inflammation and irritation in your foot. So, for starters, your podiatrist may have you rest the area, allowing the inflamed tendon and bone to heal. This may be accomplished by wearing a cast or boot designed to keep you from moving the problem area. Your podiatrist may also suggest using ice to reduce the swelling and inflammation, and anti-inflammatory medications (like ibuprofen, or sometimes a cortisone shot or other steroid medication).
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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