Will Accessory Navicular Syndrome Warrant Surgery
The bones of the foot occasionally develop abnormally in a child and an extra bone called an accessory navicular is present towards the inside of the foot, in front of the ankle. This bone is present in approximately 10% of the general population but not large enough to cause symptoms in the majority of these individuals. The extra bone lump present in childhood can be quite uncomfortable because it rubs on shoes. In addition, the feet associated with the accessory navicular are invariably flat. If the child is active and involved in various athletic activities, this will aggravate the inflammation of the tendon that attaches to the accessory navicular. This tendon is called the posterior tibial tendon and is responsible for maintaining the strength of the arch of the foot. The flat-footedness associated with the accessory navicular usually brings the child for treatment.
Just having an accessory navicular bone is not necessarily a bad thing. Not all people with these accessory bones have symptoms. Symptoms arise when the accessory navicular is overly large or when an injury disrupts the fibrous tissue between the navicular and the accessory navicular. A very large accessory navicular can cause a bump on the instep that rubs on your shoe causing pain.
What precipitates the pain? It will usually be caused by rubbing of the skate or other footwear against the prominence. You?ll commonly see blisters or a red irritated area. Other symptoms to look for, especially when you?re treating an older child or adult, include an area of pain along the posterior tibial tendon of the arch and fatigue of the legs. Typically, these patients are not able to participate in sports for a lengthy period of time or you?ll hear them complain of pain and/or soreness after extended activities. Most individuals with a prominent navicular area will have tried accommodating this area with a doughnut pad or adjustments to their skate.
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
Non-surgical treatments are enough to cure the symptoms caused by the accessory navicular. The treatment options include Immobilization, a cast or a walking boot is usually used to immobilize the foot so that the inflammation and pain are alleviated quickly due to the rest that the foot gets. Apply ice bags or wrap the ice in a towel and apply it on the aching region to alleviate inflammation. Orthotic devices that can be fit into the shoes are prescribe to keep the symptoms from resurfacing. Exercises are helpful for strengthening the muscles, which would not only help alleviate inflammation but also keep the symptoms from appearing again. NSAIDs and steroids may be prescribed as per the need of the patient to ease the pain and inflammation.
If non-operative treatment fails to relieve the patient’s symptoms, surgical intervention may be warranted. The standard operative treatment of an accessory navicular is a Kidner procedure. However, if surgery is undertaken it is important that it address the underlying source of the patients pain.