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 you get taller when you stretch? 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.
This painful foot condition is caused by an extra bone in the foot called the accessory navicular. Only about 10% of people have this bone (4 to 21%), and not all of them will develop any symptoms. The navicular bone is one of the normal tarsal bones of the foot. It is located on the inside of the foot, at the arch.
The catalyst for symptoms might be some sort of injury (such as a broken or sprained ankle), excessive activity, or irritation from where shoes are rubbing on the bony prominence the accessory navicular makes. These can irritate the bone, or make the tendon it?s embedded in (the posterior tibial tendon, remember?) inflamed and sore. Because the tendon is compromised in its ability to support the arch, accessory navicular syndrome almost always leads to flat feet, which is one very obvious symptom.
Usually, you will only need an X-ray to determine the size or type of the accessory navicular bone or the amount of medial navicular tuberosity hypertrophy. Be cognizant of stress fractures which may be duplicated as a hairline fracture or increased calcification. When treating children, always look for avascular necrosis of the navicular (Kohler?s disease). An X-ray of this condition will reveal a flattening of the navicular along with increased bone density.
Non Surgical Treatment
Although operative treatment, and removal of the accessory navicular is possible, this is not usually indicated at first. Conservative nonoperative treatment is best, the course depending on the severity of the symptoms. When the pain is very severe, which could indicate a fracture, a period of immobilization might be required. This is done by waring a fracture boot, or a cast, which can help the ossicle stay stable, aiding in healing. Immobilization usually lasts between 4 to 6 weeks. Afterwards, physical therapy exercise, or any appropriate home course, should be used to help strengthen the ankle and return the ankle and foot to full range of motion, and have no pain on movement. Sometimes crutches are used when weight bearing is too painful, but it is best to try to bear weight when possible.
Surgical treatment of the accessory navicular syndrome with simple excision has the advantages of less invasive to the posterior tibial tenden and the medial longitudinal arch of the foot, shorter time of immobilization of the foot and stay in hospital, small incision and good clinical results. This procedure is one of the best selective treatments for the accessory navicular syndrome, especially for the patients without flatfoot deformity and old sprain injury.
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