The accessory navicular is an extra piece of cartilage or bone on the inner side of the foot. It is found in about 10 percent of individuals and is present at birth. Many people who have an accessory navicular are never aware of it because they do not experience symptoms. However, aggravation of the accessory navicular or the posterior tibia tendon, which it is attached to, can develop as a result of trauma, irritation from shoes, and excessive overuse.
Most of the time, this condition is asymptomatic and people may live their whole lives unaware that they even have this extra bone. The main reason the accessory navicular bone becomes problematic is when pain occurs. There is no need for intervention if there is no pain. The accessory navicular bone is easily felt in the medial arch because it forms a bony prominence there. Pain may occur if the accessory bone is overly large causing this bump on the instep to rub against footwear.
Adolescence is a common time for the symptoms to first appear. This is a time when bones are maturing and cartilage is developing into bone. Sometimes, however, the symptoms do not occur until adulthood. The signs and symptoms of accessory navicular syndrome include a visible bony prominence on the midfoot (the inner side of the foot, just above the arch) Redness and swelling of the bony prominence. Vague pain or throbbing in the midfoot and arch, usually occurring during or after periods of activity.
Diagnosis is fairly simple based on an examination by your doctor. He or she will palpate the navicular bone, and based on the location of pain will suspect an accessory navicular. The doctor will also observe your gait to see if you are flatfooted. At this point an x-ray will make the definitive diagnosis. Other causes of pain in the same area of the foot would include a fracture of the navicular bone or possibly How long does Achilles tendonitis last for? or even a partial tear of the tibialis posterior tendon that inserts into the navicular. In these cases there is usually a history of trauma. People with a naturally "large" navicular bone may also develop a bursitis due to chronic shoe pressure.
Non Surgical Treatment
The foot may be placed in a cast or removable walking boot to allow the affected area to rest and decrease the inflammation. Physical therapy including exercises and treatments to strengthen the muscles, decrease inflammation, and prevent recurrence of the symptoms. Custom orthopedic devices that fit into the shoe providing arch support. Even after successful treatment, symptoms may reappear.
In the original Kidner procedure, the entire posterior tibial tendon was released from the navicular and then rerouted through a drill hole placed through the navicular. The original Kidner procedure is now rarely used as a means of treating an isolated accessory navicular. Instead, a modification of the Kidner procedure has become more commonplace. The modified Kidner procedure consists of carefully removing the accessory and anchoring the posterior tibial tendon to the surface of the navicular where the accessory was removed. The repair may be done by passing a suture through the tendon and then through drill holes in the navicular, or by using a suture anchor.
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