The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Coming Soon: “The Cuboid Syndrome”

Posted by on Friday, August 10th, 2012

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My two favorite types of foot conditions are the ones that are named after some now ghostly 19th century doctor and the ones that sound like the name of an action movie. Today I give you one of the latter: cuboid syndrome. Can’t you picture the poster? “Summer 2014 – “The Cuboid Syndrome.” Directed by Paul Greengrass. Starring Jeremy Renner.”

Sadly, I don’t know if anyone has a conspiracy-laced movie featuring duplicitous spies and evil financial giants with that title in the works. However, I would suggest that with all the running that goes on in a typical action movie, cuboid syndrome is an injury that certainly may occur on the set of any suspense thriller. So let’s find out all about it!

Is there seriously something named a cuboid in my foot? That sounds more like a fun game I could play on my phone while my brain is off. While “cuboid” may sound like the name of an interesting little visual puzzle, it is indeed a bone in your foot; it’s part of the group of tarsal bones that make up your rear and midfoot. These are (starting from the rear), the talus, calcaneous, navicular, cuboid, medial cuneiform, intermediate cuneiform, and lateral cuneiform. The cuboid is found on the outside of your midfoot, in front of your ankle. As you may guess from the name, the cuboid is shaped like, well, a cube.

You didn’t warn me that there would be an anatomy lesson. Surprise is a great weapon.

So I get that there’s a cuboid bone in my midfoot, but what’s a cuboid syndrome? Okay, warning: a little more anatomy. The cuboid bone and calcaneous work together to form the calcaneocuboid joint. The joint helps stabilize the foot when you push off to take a step. If the cuboid is pulled out of place, or is partially dislocated, you have cuboid syndrome.

How does that happen? Cuboid syndrome often occurs with another injury, such as an inversion ankle sprain. That, as you know doubt remember, is the common type of ankle sprain where your ankle rolls downward, so the sole of your foot faces inward. Cuboid syndrome can also appear on its own, as part of an overuse injury. This is common with dancers, coming from repeated landing of jumps, or, in the case of female ballet dancers, switching between flat feet and raising up on pointe.

What are the symptoms? Other than that I have, for example, an inversion ankle sprain and have enough to deal with? You’ll feel pain in you foot, especially the outside part, when you want to put weight on it. You may notice a tendency to roll your foot inward to take weight off that foot. If you press the area of your foot where your cuboid is located, you’ll feel significant pain. It can be a difficult injury to diagnose on your own, though, especially with the other existing injuries to complicate things. It’s best to see a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

What is that treatment plan? Since the problem is dislocation of the cuboid bone, treatment begins with popping it back into place. Let your podiatrist do that–don’t try it on your own (unless you’re a podiatrist or another medical professional). The podiatrist then may tape your foot to help hold the cuboid in place or put a cuboid pad on your foot. Ice can help bring down the swelling, or in extreme cases, so can a corticosteroid injection. The podiatrist may recommend orthotics to help support your feet and keep them in the right position.

The hardest part of cuboid syndrome is just diagnosing it. Once the problem has been found, it’s not that hard to treat. So do not fear the cuboid syndrome!

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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.