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What Is Accessory Navicular Syndrome

Overview
The human body is rarely the same from person to person. Some things stay the same, like the function of the internal organs. Even when structures are similar, however, little variations, like extra bone tissue, can make a significant difference in the body. Having small, extra bones is not as uncommon as you might think. Sometimes, though, these additional tissues can cause painful problems, as with accessory navicular syndrome.

Accessory Navicular Syndrome

Causes
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, Why do they call it the Achilles heel? constantly pulls on the bone, creating even more motion between the fragments with each step.

Symptoms
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.

Diagnosis
Typically, accessory navicular syndrome isn?t hard to diagnose. Our podiatrists will examine the lower limb and check the hard prominence, as well as use X-rays to confirm the presence of extra bone tissue. Other diagnostic images may be able to identify inflammation and specific damage to the midfoot. Depending on the severity of your discomfort, conservative measures may be enough to resolve the condition.

Non Surgical Treatment
Most doctors will try to find a non-surgical approach to the issue due to costs and complications involved in a surgery. Some non-surgical procedures are: Immobilization which consists of placing the foot in a cast or walking boot to allow rest and decrease inflammation, placing a towel-covered-icepack on the area to reduce inflammation, anti-inflammatory or steroid drugs/injections may be prescribed to reduce swelling and pain, physical therapy may be used to help strengthen muscles and prevent a reoccurrence of symptoms, Orthotic Devices placed in the shoe to help support the arch and prevent a reoccurrence of symptoms.

Accessory Navicular Syndrome

Surgical Treatment
After the anesthesia is administered you will be heavily sedated and placed on your stomach. Surgeons will place a tourniquet around your thigh and an incision will be made on the inside of the foot. The posterior tibial tendon will be moved as necessary and the accessory navicular will be removed. Surgeons will repair the posterior tibial tendon with sutures or suture anchors, and the wound will be closed. A splint will be placed on the foot for stabilization and immobilization. You will be permitted to leave the surgical center once you have been cleared by the anesthesiologist. Plan ahead to have a friend or family member take your prescription to a pharmacy to pick up your post-op medication. Use narcotic pain medications before bed or if numbness in your foot begins to dull. Schedule a post-op visit for 4 weeks after the procedure.

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