he accessory navicular (os navicularum or os tibiale externum)is an extra bone or piece of cartilage located on the inner sideof the foot just above the arch. It is incorporated within the posterior tibial tendon, which attaches in this area. An accessory navicular is congenital (present at birth). It is not part of normal bone structure and therefore is not present in most people. What is Accessory Navicular Syndrome? People who have an accessory navicular often are unaware of the condition if it causes no problems. However, some people with this extra bone develop a painful condition known as accessory navicular syndrome when the bone and/or posterior tibial tendon are aggravated.
It is commonly believed that the posterior tibial tendon loses its vector of pull to heighten the arch. As the posterior muscle contracts, the tendon is no longer pulling straight up on the navicular but must course around the prominence of bone and first pull medially before pulling upward. In addition, the enlarged bones may irritate and damage the insertional area of the posterior tibial tendon, making it less functional. Therefore, the presence of the accessory navicular bone does contribute to posterior tibial dysfunction.
Many people have accessory (?extra?) naviculars (figure 1) - a prominent extra bone extending from the navicular bone. Most accessory naviculars are completely asymptomatic. However, some individuals will develop pain on the inside of their midfoot. Pain may occur from the pressure of the shoe ware against the prominence, irritating either the bone itself or the fibrous junction where the accessory bone meets the regular navicular. Alternatively, the fibrous junction or interface may become painful as a result of tension applied by the posterior tibial tendon through its connection or insertion at that site. Often, individuals will be asymptomatic for years, however, a new pair of shoes or a change in their activity level can cause symptoms. The accessory navicular itself typically develops during adolescence, when the two areas of the navicular bone fail to fuse together.
Usually, How do you get a growth spurt? will only need an X-ray to determine the size or type of the accessory navicular bone or the amount of medial navicular tuberosity hypertrophy. Be cognizant of stress fractures which may be duplicated as a hairline fracture or increased calcification. When treating children, always look for avascular necrosis of the navicular (Kohler?s disease). An X-ray of this condition will reveal a flattening of the navicular along with increased bone density.
Non Surgical Treatment
If symptoms have been aggravated by an increase in activity level, backing off on activities in the short term can be helpful. The foot is subject to a lot of repetitive loading during walking, and therefore minimizing this force will often help symptoms to settle. After symptoms have settled, the activity level can then be gradually increased.
For patients who have failed conservative care or who have had recurrent symptoms, surgery can be considered. Surgical intervention requires an excision of the accessory navicular and reattachment of the posterior tibial tendon to the navicular. Often times, this is the only procedure necessary. However, if there are other deformities such as a flat foot or forefoot that is abducted, other procedures may be required.
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