The human body is rarely the same from person to person. Some things stay the same, like the function of the internal organs. Even when structures are similar, however, little variations, like extra bone tissue, can make a significant difference in the body. Having small, extra bones is not as uncommon as you might think. Sometimes, though, these additional tissues can cause painful problems, as with accessory navicular syndrome.
Accessory navicular syndrome as it is called can result from a number of causes, excess or overuse syndrome as seen in an athlete. Trauma to the foot as in an ankle sprain or direct trauma to the navicular bone. chronic irritation from shoes rubbing against the extra bone, over time, may cause pain. Excessive pronation which strains the attachment of tibialis posterior muscles into the navicular bone. Keep in mind, the larger the actual accessory bone, the greater the chance of it becoming an issue.
If you develop accessory navicular syndrome, you may experience a throbbing sensation or other types of pain in your midfoot or arch (especially while or right after you use the foot heavily, such as during exercise), and you may notice a bony prominence on the interior of your foot above the arch. This prominence may become inflamed, which means it will likely feel warm to the touch, look red and swollen, and will probably hurt.
To diagnose accessory navicular syndrome, the foot and ankle surgeon will ask about symptoms and examine the foot, looking for skin irritation or swelling. The doctor may press on the bony prominence to assess the area for discomfort. Foot structure, muscle strength, joint motion, and the way the patient walks may also be evaluated. X-rays are usually ordered to confirm the diagnosis. If there is ongoing pain or inflammation, an MRI or other advanced imaging tests may be used to further evaluate the condition.
Non Surgical Treatment
Using PRP treatments, orthotics, proper running shoes and physical therapy should do the trick. No long recovery, no long down time. My runners and athletes are usually back to their sport pain free within a month. The key is eliminating the syndrome, not the bone (or cartilage).
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.