The accessory navicular also termed the os navicularum or os tibiale externum - is an extra bone or piece of cartilage on the inner side of the foot above the arch that attaches to the posterior tibial tendon within this area. This extra bone, present at birth, is not part of the normal bone structure and found in approximately 10% of the population. Some people with an accessory navicular may be unaware of the condition if symptoms are never experienced. But accessory navicular syndrome is a painful condition caused by aggravating the bone, the posterior tibial tendon or both.Accessory navicular syndrome is an irritation of the accessory navicular and/or posterior tibial tendon. This irritation can be caused by shoe rubbing, trauma, excessive activity, or overuse and can cause problems with the shape and function of your foot. Many people with this disorder also have flat feet which puts more strain on the posterior tibial tendon. Some people are born with an accessory Navicular because during development, the bones of the feet sometimes develop abnormally causing the extra bone to form on the inside of the foot.
Let us see the reasons why the tendon or the bone would get aggravated. Ankle or foot sprain, irritation of the bone caused by footwear, overusing the foot, quite common in athletes and dancers. People born with this extra bone are also known develop flat feet which also adds to the strain on the posterior tibial tendon and lead to the syndrome.
The majority of people with an accessory navicular experience no symptoms, since, for the most part, the little extra bone simply isn?t large enough to cause problems. Unfortunately, some people lose on ?accessory navicular roulette,? and the bone begins to mess things up with the foot. These problems usually show up sometime in adolescence, when bones and cartilage in the body are settling into their final shapes (although occasionally people make it all the way through childhood, only to start experiencing discomfort and pain in adulthood).
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 children?s symptoms are improved or resolved by taking a break from activities that irritate their feet. Shoe inserts that pad the accessory navicular area are also helpful. If your child?s symptoms do not improve, your physician may recommend a below-the-knee cast or walking boot. Surgery is rarely needed.
For patients who have failed conservative care or who have had recurrent symptoms, surgery Can you grow taller with exercise? be considered. Surgical intervention requires an excision of the accessory navicular and reattachment of the posterior tibial tendon to the navicular. Often times, this is the only procedure necessary. However, if there are other deformities such as a flat foot or forefoot that is abducted, other procedures may be required.
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