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.
An accessory navicular develops as a result of a congenital anomaly and is found more often in women. If the bone is large, it may rub against a shoe, causing pain. Because of its location, the posterior tibial tendon may pull on the bone during walking or running, causing the fibrous tissue that connects the accessory navicular to the navicular to tear and become inflamed.
This painful condition is called accessory navicular syndrome. Accessory navicular syndrome (ANS) can cause significant pain in the mid-foot 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.
An initial assessment is an orthopaedic office begins with a thorough history and complete physical exam, including an assessment of the posterior tibial tendon and areas of tenderness. Associated misalignments of the ankle and foot should be noted. Finally, weight-bearing x-rays of the foot will help in making the diagnosis. Sometimes, an MRI may be needed to see if the posterior tibial tendon is involved with the symptoms or getting more clarity on the anatomy of the accessory navicular.
Non Surgical Treatment
Although operative treatment, and removal of the accessory navicular is possible, this is not usually indicated at first. Conservative nonoperative treatment is best, the course depending on the severity of the symptoms. When the pain is very severe, which could indicate a fracture, a period of immobilization might be required. This is done by waring a fracture boot, or a cast, which can help the ossicle stay stable, aiding in healing. Immobilization usually lasts between 4 to 6 weeks. Afterwards, physical therapy exercise, or any appropriate home course, should be used to help strengthen the ankle and return the ankle and foot to full range of motion, and have no pain on movement. Sometimes crutches are used when weight bearing is too painful, but it is best to try to bear weight when possible.
rolotherapy Strengthens the ligaments, tendons and muscle attachments affected by ANS. Prolotherapy is an injection technique that works to strengthen these ligament, tendon, and muscle attachments by causing a mild anti-inflammatory response in the tissues. Prolotherapy supports the body’s normal healing response to injury. The solution directed at the injured and weakened tissue will cause an influx of blood supply and regenerative cells to come to the area. As part of this healing cascade, collagen cells will also be deposited at the injured site. The tissue, which is made mostly of collagen, will become stronger and tighter as these new collagen cells mature. The injured tissue becomes healthy again. When the weakness or injury How do I stretch my Achilles tendon? in these structures is resolved, often times the symptoms with ANS are resolved and the patient no longer suffers from chronic foot pain. In our experience, patients typically feel better soon after treatment. However, if the person desires to run again or continue to be very active, it may take 3-5 treatments to fully resolve the condition. Activity is increased during treatment as symptoms resolve.
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