The bones of the foot occasionally develop abnormally in a child and an extra bone called an accessory navicular is present towards the inside of the foot, in front of the ankle. This bone is present in approximately 10% of the general population but not large enough to cause symptoms in the majority of these individuals. The extra bone lump present in childhood Can exercise increase your height? be quite uncomfortable because it rubs on shoes. In addition, the feet associated with the accessory navicular are invariably flat. If the child is active and involved in various athletic activities, this will aggravate the inflammation of the tendon that attaches to the accessory navicular. This tendon is called the posterior tibial tendon and is responsible for maintaining the strength of the arch of the foot. The flat-footedness associated with the accessory navicular usually brings the child for treatment.
It is commonly believed that the posterior tibial tendon loses its vector of pull to heighten the arch. As the posterior muscle contracts, the tendon is no longer pulling straight up on the navicular but must course around the prominence of bone and first pull medially before pulling upward. In addition, the enlarged bones may irritate and damage the insertional area of the posterior tibial tendon, making it less functional. Therefore, the presence of the accessory navicular bone does contribute to posterior tibial dysfunction.
Most people born with this bone begin to experience the symptoms (if at all any) in adolescence. Some may not develop any symptoms until adulthood. The symptoms are a visible abnormal protrusion in the mid-foot, swelling and redness of the protrusion, pain in the mid-foot after performing an activity.
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
The foot may be placed in a cast or removable walking boot to allow the affected area to rest and decrease the inflammation. Physical therapy including exercises and treatments to strengthen the muscles, decrease inflammation, and prevent recurrence of the symptoms. Custom orthopedic devices that fit into the shoe providing arch support. Even after successful treatment, symptoms may reappear.
In my experience, the Modified Kidner procedure is one of the most reliable operations for reducing arch pain associated with an accessory navicular bone (a.k.a. os tibial externum). You can also use this procedure to treat a prominence at the inner aspect of the arch, which has been caused by an enlarged navicular bone. The most common patients to visit our office with these problems are between the ages of 8 and 15 and are involved in activities like ice skating, ballet and soccer.
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