In an ideal situation, the navicular bone and the accessory bone will fuse together to form one bone. The problem that occurs is that sometimes the two bones do not fuse together and the patient is left with what is known as a fibrous union or basically a non solid union of bone to bone. This fibrous union is more like scar tissue and in theory can cause pain when excessive strain is placed upon it.
The syndrome may result from any of the following, previous trauma such as a foot or ankle sprain. Chronic irritation from shoes or other footwear causing friction against the bone. Strain from overuse or excessive activity.
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 compression socks help with Achilles tendonitis? 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.
Plain x-rays are used to determine the size of the accessory navicular. There are three main types of accessory navicular bones: a small bone embedded within the nearby posterior tibial tendon; a triangular shaped bone connected to the navicular by thick cartilage; and a large prominent navicular tuberosity thought to represent an accessory navicular that has fused to the navicular. If the status of the posterior tibial tendon needs to be assessed or if other problems are suspected, (ex. Navicular stress fracture) it may be necessary to perform an MRI. Although this is not considered routine, an MRI may be helpful in identifying the degree of irritation. An MRI would demonstrate fluid or edema that may accumulate in the bone as a result of the irritation.
Non Surgical Treatment
Most cases of accessory navicular syndrome may be treated conservatively with some sort of immobilization. This should allow the fibrous tissue between the two bones to heal. If a patient is extremely flat footed (pronated) then I lean more towards an orthotic than a boot as my main goal is to keep the patient's foot from flattening out too much and thus reduce the strain on the two bones. Supplementation with ice, oral anti-inflammatory medication. If the patient is athletic sometimes we can keep them active with an orthotic, but other times they have to give up their sport for a period of time to allow the condition to heal.
Depending upon the severity the non operative or conservative treatment should be maintained for at least 4- 6 months before any surgical intervention. There are 2 surgeries that can be performed depending upon the condition and symptoms. First is simple surgical excision. In this generally the accessory navicular along with its prominence is removed. In this procedure, skin incision is made dorsally to the prominence of accessory navicular. Bone is removed to the point where the medial foot has no bony prominence over the navicular, between the head of the talus and first cuneiform. Symptoms are relieved in 90% of cases. Second is Kindler procedure. In this the ossicle and navicular prominence is excised as in simple excision but along with the posterior tibial tendon advancement. Posterior tibial tendon is split and advanced along the medial side of foot to provide support to longitudinal arch. After surgery 4 week short leg cast, well moulded into the arch with the foot plantigrade is applied. Partial weight bearing till the 8th week and later full weight bearing is allowed. When the cast is being removed can start building up the ROM to counter atrophy and other physical therapy treatment which include stretching and strengthening exercises.
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