An accessory navicular involves the development of an extra bone or piece of cartilage along the inner side of a person’s foot, just above the arch. It’s a congenital condition, meaning that it’s present at birth, and it may be much more common than we realize because it is oftentimes asymptomatic. However, if trauma or overstress affects that foot, it can lead to the onset of a number of uncomfortable symptoms. Below, we take a closer look at accessory naviculars, their symptoms and how they are treated.
What Is Accessory Navicular Syndrome?
As we noted in the introduction, a number of people have an accessory navicular but don’t even know it because it’s not causing symptoms. If symptoms develop, this is categorized as accessory navicular syndrome, and it typically leads to irritation or aggravation of the posterior tibial tendon that’s also housed in this location. Accessory navicular syndrome is oftentimes brought on by trauma to the foot or ankle, chronic irritation in the form of poor fitting shoes, or excessive activity or overstress of the feet. Overweight individuals may also be at a higher risk because their feet handle more stress when they move.
Signs and symptoms of an accessory navicular include:
- A visible prominence on the inner side of your midfoot
- Pain or discomfort in the midfoot
Adults with these symptoms also tend to have a flat foot or a fallen arch, because this foot shape puts more strain on the posterior tibial tendon, which can inflame or irritate the accessory navicular.
Diagnosing And Treating Accessory Navicular Syndrome
If you’re dealing with any of the above symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or a foot specialist in your area. They’ll ask about your symptoms, conduct a physical exam and may confirm their suspicions with the help of an x-ray to pinpoint the location of the problematic bone.
Once accessory navicular syndrome has been diagnosed, your doctor will walk you through some treatment options. This will begin with some non-surgical approaches that aim at relieving symptoms, since you won’t be able to make the accessory navicular completely disappear without surgery. That said, most people don’t end up needing surgery and find relief through a combination of conservative treatments like immobilization, activity avoidance, footwear changes, icing, anti-inflammatory medications, orthotic inserts and targeted physical therapy.
In the rare instance that those techniques do not provide enough relief, your foot specialist may recommend a minimally invasive surgical procedure. The operation involves creating a small opening above the accessory navicular, excising it, reshaping the area and addressing any posterior tibial tendon dysfunction to improve its function. It’s a relatively simple procedure that Dr. McDonald and his team have performed successfully countless times. He’d be happy to perform the operation should it come to this, but he’s confident that he’ll be able to relieve symptoms through a comprehensive conservative approach.
So if you are dealing with pain or discomfort on the inner side of your midfoot and suspect that you may be dealing with an accessory navicular, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today for more information or to set up an appointment.