Accessory navicular syndrome occurs when a type II accessory navicular (or "os tibiale externum") becomes painful due to movement across the pseudojoint between the ossicle and the navicular bone. The syndrome presents on MRI with bone marrow oedema signal (hypointense T1, hyperintense T2/STIR) in both the accessory ossicle and navicular. It can be inferred on musculoskeletal ultrasound if a patient's pain is located at a type II accessory navicular and the patient is tender to transducer pressure. Ultrasound can also be useful to compare with the contralateral side.
What causes pain in the Achilles tendon?
Like all painful conditions, ANS has a root cause. The cause could be the accessory navicular bone itself producing irritation from shoes or too much activity. Often, however, it is related to injury of one of the structures that attach to the navicular bone. Structures that attach to the navicular bone include abductor hallucis muscle, plantar calcaneonavicular ligament (spring ligament) parts of the deltoid ligament, posterior tibial tendon.
Most people with an accessory navicular do not have symptoms because the bone is so small that it causes no harm, or only develop symptoms after a trauma such as a break or sprain. When symptoms are present they could be a visible bony prominence, pain and throbbing, inflammation and redness, and flat feet.
A foot and ankle surgeon can diagnose accessory navicular syndrome by conducting a physical exam. X-rays and MRIs may be taken to access the condition and confirm the diagnosis of accessory navicular.
Non Surgical Treatment
Treatment options for a painful accessory navicular can include anti-inflammatory medications, rest, arch support structures in the shoe, or use of a cast or splint. Severe cases may require surgery.
If conservative care does not alleviate the problem then surgical intervention should be considered. The most common procedure for this condition is known as the Kidner procedure where a small incision is made over the navicular bone. The accessory navicular is identified and dissected free from the posterior tibial tendon. The posterior tibial tendon is then reattached to the remaining navicular bone.
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