The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Accessory Navicular Bone Syndrome

Posted by on Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

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There are many ways to know you’re special. Maybe you win a prize, or you’re given an award. You can feel special just because someone loves you.

Do you know what else makes you special? Having an accessory navicular in your foot.

What? You’re not familiar with the accessory navicular? Well, then let’s get familiar!

What is an accessory navicular? The accessory navicular is a small piece of bone or cartilage found on the inside of your foot above your arch, near the posterior tibial tendon and–wait for it–navicular bone. It does not serve any purpose, it’s just there–an accessory (though of course, some accessories ARE useful). Some people are born with it, some are not. See? If you have the accessory navicular, then you are special!

What does it do? Our little friend doesn’t serve any purpose, so in most cases you’ll barely know about its existence (and how special you are).

So why is it a “syndrome?” That’s because sometimes the accessory navicular can become irritated and painful. Then you’ll notice it.

What irritates it? Chronic rubbing from shoes, a bad ankle or foot sprain, or overuse from a repeated activity. Problems with the accessory navicular tend to show up in adolescence and they’re also more common in people with flat feet. This is probably because flat feet stress the posterior tibial tendon more and that in turn irritates the nearby accessory navicular.

Are there symptoms, or do I just feel irritated? You’ll notice a bony bump on the inside of your foot above your arch that can become swollen and red. You’ll feel pain in the midfoot or inner arch area, usually after some kind of activity that involves your foot. The best way to find out is to see a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) who will do a full exam and take x-rays to confirm the diagnosis.

What do I do about it? Your podiatrist will first treat it non-surgically. Rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories can help with the pain and swelling. Physical therapy may be recommended to help deal with any walking or running issues that may be causing the irritation. Custom-fit orthotics can also help stabilize your foot and provide support.

Although this approach may take care of the symptoms for a while, they may recur, in which case everything is repeated. If the treatment doesn’t work, or the symptoms keep recurring, then surgery may be recommended. The procedure would remove the accessory navicular, reshape the area, and fix the posterior tibial tendon to lessen the irritation that may be a problem there. Don’t worry, it barely leaves a scar.

Will my navicular bone be lonely if the accessory navicular is gone? No, the navicular bone has plenty of other friends.

So there, the accessory navicular is not really that complicated. Feel special if you have it, and feel, well, special even if you don’t. Just enjoy whichever foot you have.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.