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The accessory navicular bone is estimated to be present in around 20% of the population. If you have this bone in your foot, it’s important that you know what accessory navicular syndrome is so that you can be prepared if ever you become affected by it.

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Who Can Get Accessory Navicular Syndrome?

Accessory navicular syndrome can only develop within individuals who have the accessory navicular bone, which is an extra piece of cartilage or bone that can be situated on the inner portion of the foot — right above the foot arch — that is present at birth. Most people don’t have this bone, and therefore don’t experience accessory navicular syndrome.

About Accessory Navicular Syndrome

In accessory navicular syndrome, the bone itself typically doesn’t cause any problems. However, there are times when the bone can become so large that it causes high amounts of pain until the problem is effectively treated. This condition also occurs whenever the bone is irritated or aggravated in any way.

Some of the main reasons why individuals develop accessory navicular syndrome include:

  • Having flat feet
  • Trauma (such as an ankle or foot sprain)
  • Excessively overusing the area of the foot with the accessory navicular bone
  • Consistently irritating the accessory navicular bone because of certain shoes

What are the Symptoms of Accessory Navicular Syndrome?

If you’re beginning to suffer from accessory navicular syndrome, you’ll notice a bony protrusion along the inner portion of your foot that’s situated right above the arch. This protrusion will become red and swollen over time. While the pain can be sharp, it’s more commonly a dull and aching sensation around the middle area of the foot. The pain usually occurs during or following lengthy activity, which means that the pain can flare up while you’re exercising (or just afterwards).

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Diagnosis of Accessory Navicular Syndrome

As is the case with most foot conditions, the best way to diagnose accessory navicular syndrome is through a physical examination at a doctor’s office.

The doctor or ankle surgeon will examine your foot and ask about any symptoms that you’re experiencing. 

During the exam, the doctor will primarily be looking for any swelling or skin irritation around the location of the bone. They will most likely put a small amount of pressure on the bone to check the amount of discomfort that you’re experiencing. Your muscle strength, foot structure, and motion of the joints will also be evaluated. 

In many cases, an x-ray or similar imaging test will be administered as a means of confirming the diagnosis of accessory navicular syndrome.

If you’re experiencing severe pain along with the inflammation, it’s possible that more comprehensive tests will be done.

Treatment Options

The treatments for accessory navicular syndrome can be either non-surgical or surgical. For non-surgical treatments, our goal is to provide relief of the symptoms instead of getting rid of the condition altogether. These options include:

Ice Packs

If you’re experiencing high amounts of swelling, an ice pack could be used to reduce the swelling and help with any pain.

Anti-Inflammatories

Anti-inflammatory medications can be prescribed to help with the primary symptoms of the syndrome.

Walking Boot or Cast

There are times when the foot may need to be placed in a walking boot or cast to keep it immobilized and to help it heal.

Physical Therapy

If the inflammation and pain don’t go away in a couple of weeks after these treatments, you may want to consider physical therapy to help strengthen your muscles and lessen the inflammation around the bone.

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Surgery

If non-surgical treatment cannot control the condition, surgery is usually the next step. The most common surgery for accessory navicular syndrome is the Kidner procedure. 

In this procedure, the surgeon will create a small incision within the instep of the foot above the accessory navicular bone in order to separate the bone from the posterior tibial tendon and completely take it out.

The posterior tibial tendon is then re-attached to the remaining normal navicular and the incision is closed.

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FAQ

Why does accessory navicular syndrome affect those with flat feet so often?

At what age does accessory navicular syndrome typically develop?

Why does accessory navicular syndrome affect those with flat feet so often?

Individuals with flat feet have a higher risk of developing accessory navicular syndrome than anyone else. This is because when the foot doesn’t have the proper arch that it should, exercising and walking will invariably place more strain on the accessory navicular bone, which can cause the bone to become inflamed or irritated.

At what age does accessory navicular syndrome typically develop?

Since the accessory navicular bone is present at birth, the condition can begin to develop at any time. Many people start to experience symptoms during adolescence. It’s at this time that the bones begin to properly mature. However, while it’s common for these symptoms to occur during adolescence, they may not show up until adulthood.

Why Choose Foot & Ankle Specialty Group?

Foot & Ankle Specialty Group is a podiatry office in Rancho Santa Margarita and Newport Beach led by Dr. Salma Aziz, D.P.M, M.S. We are a nurturing female doctor group with a mission to get our patients back on their feet and back to their regular life. In business for two decades, Dr. Aziz is a staple of her community, serving families, athletes of all ages, those who are active, and helping with injuries of all kinds. And now with the addition of Dr. Petrina Yokay and Dr. Jessica Arneson, Foot & Ankle Specialty Group is more advanced than ever. 

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