Accessory Navicular Bone Types
Everyone has one navicular bone: one of the small bones of the foot. A small number of people have a second small navicular bone or piece of cartilage located on the inside of the foot just above the arch: both are simply called an "accessary navicular bone." It is located within the posterior tibial tendon which attaches in this area. It is easy to see as a "bump." Most that have it never have pain. If they get pain, we call it: "Accessary navicular bone syndrome."
An injury to the fibrous tissue connecting the two bones can cause something similar to a fracture. The injury allows movement to occur between the navicular and the accessory bone and is thought to be the cause of pain. The fibrous tissue is prone to poor healing and may continue to cause pain. Because the posterior tibial tendon attaches to the accessory navicular, it constantly pulls on the bone, creating even more motion between the fragments with each step.
Most people born with this bone begin to experience the symptoms (if at all any) in adolescence. Some may not develop any symptoms until adulthood. The symptoms are a visible abnormal protrusion in the mid-foot, swelling and redness of the protrusion, pain in the mid-foot after performing an activity.
To diagnose accessory navicular syndrome, medical staff ask about the patient?s activities and symptoms. They will examine the foot for irritation or swelling. Medical staff evaluate the bone structure, muscle, joint motion, and the patient?s gait. X-rays can usually confirm the diagnosis. MRI or other imaging tests may be used to determine any irritation or damage to soft-tissue structures such as tendons or ligaments. Because navicular accessory bone irritation can lead to bunions, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis, it?s important to seek treatment.
Non Surgical Treatment
Excess weight will increase the force on the posterior tibial tendon as it inserts into the accessory navicular and will tend to precipitate or aggravate symptoms. If a patient with a symptomatic accessory navicular is overweight, then losing weight can be very helpful. Even losing 5-10lbs will decrease the amount of force going through the foot with each step by as much as 15-30lbs. This is because the foot acts like a lever serving to magnify the force absorbed by the foot with each step.
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.