The accessory navicular is an extra piece of cartilage or bone on the inner side of the foot. It is found in about 10 percent of individuals and is present at birth. Many people who have an accessory navicular are never aware of it because they do not experience symptoms. However, aggravation of the accessory navicular or the posterior tibia tendon, which it is attached to, can develop as a result of trauma, irritation from shoes, and excessive overuse.
Most of the time, this condition is asymptomatic and people may live their whole lives unaware that they even have this extra bone. The main reason the accessory navicular bone becomes problematic is when pain occurs. There is no need for intervention if there is no pain. The accessory navicular bone is easily felt in the medial arch because it forms a bony prominence there. Pain may occur if the accessory bone is overly large causing this bump on the instep to rub against footwear.
This painful condition is called accessory navicular syndrome. Accessory navicular syndrome (ANS) can cause significant pain in the mid-foot and arch, especially with activity. Redness and swelling may develop over this bony prominence, as well as extreme sensitivity to pressure. Sometimes people may be unable to wear shoes because the area is too sensitive.
To diagnose accessory navicular syndrome, medical staff ask about the patient?s activities and symptoms. They will examine the foot for irritation or swelling. Medical staff evaluate the bone structure, muscle, joint motion, and the patient?s gait. X-rays can usually confirm the diagnosis. MRI or other imaging tests may be used to determine any irritation or damage to soft-tissue structures such as tendons or ligaments. Because navicular accessory bone irritation can lead to bunions, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis, it?s important to seek treatment.
Non Surgical Treatment
Rest What is the tendon at the back of your ankle? the most important factor in relieving your pain. You may need to immobilize your foot to allow the affected tissues to rest enough that they can heal. Icing the area will help decrease any inflammation and swelling. Our staff may recommend anti-inflammatory medications as well. Most likely you will need to change your footwear-and possibly add orthotics-to accommodate your bony prominence and relieve strain in the midfoot. Sometimes physical therapy may be able to help strengthen tissues and prevent additional injuries.
If all nonsurgical measures fail and the fragment continues to be painful, surgery may be recommended. The most common procedure used to treat the symptomatic accessory navicular is the Kidner procedure. A small incision is made in the instep of the foot over the accessory navicular. The accessory navicular is then detached from the posterior tibial tendon and removed from the foot. The posterior tibial tendon is reattached to the remaining normal navicular. Following the procedure, the skin incision is closed with stitches, and a bulky bandage and splint are applied to the foot and ankle. You may need to use crutches for several days after surgery. Your stitches will be removed in 10 to 14 days (unless they are the absorbable type, which will not need to be taken out). You should be safe to be released to full activity in about six weeks.
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