Accessory Navicular Syndrome

One of the more uncommon conditions that can affect a foot is accessory navicular syndrome.

This syndrome can only develop within an individual who has the accessory navicular bone, which is an extra piece of cartilage or bone that can be situated on the inner portion of the foot right above the foot arch. This bone is present at birth, and most people don’t have it and therefore cannot suffer from accessory navicular syndrome. If you have this bone in your foot, it’s important that you know what the accessory navicular syndrome is so that you can be prepared if ever you become affected by it.

What Accessory Navicular Syndrome Indicates

The accessory navicular bone is estimated to be present in around 20 percent of the population. While only those with the accessory navicular bone can suffer from this syndrome, the bone itself typically doesn’t cause any problems. However, there are times when the bone can become too large and can cause you to experience high amounts of pain until the problem is effectively treated. This condition also occurs whenever the bone is irritated or aggravated in any way. A few of the main reasons that you could become affected by this syndrome include:

  • Experiencing trauma such as an ankle or foot sprain
  • Excessively overusing that area of the foot
  • Consistently irritating the bone because of the shoes that you wear

People who suffer from flat feet have a higher risk of developing this condition than anyone else. When your foot doesn’t have the proper arch that it should, exercising and walking will invariably place more strain on the accessory navicular bone, which can cause the bone to become inflamed or irritated.

Signs That You Are Affected By This Syndrome

Since the bone that can lead to the accessory navicular syndrome is present at birth, the condition can start to develop at any time. Many people begin to experience symptoms pertaining to this syndrome during adolescence. It’s at this time your bones begin to properly mature. While it’s common for adolescents to experience these symptoms, you may not experience them yourself until you’ve reached adulthood.

If you’re beginning to suffer from this syndrome, you’ll notice a bony protrusion along the inner portion of your foot that’s situated right above the arch. This protrusion will become red and swollen over time. While the pain that you go through can be a sharp pain, it’s more commonly going to be dull and aching around the middle area of your foot. The pain usually occurs during or following lengthy activity, which means that the pain can flare up while you’re exercising, or just afterwards.


As is the case with most foot conditions, the best way to diagnose accessory navicular syndrome is through a physical examination at a doctor’s office. The doctor or ankle surgeon will examine your foot and ask about any symptoms that you’re experiencing. While conducting the examination, they will primarily be looking for any swelling or skin irritation around the location of the bone. It’s likely that a small amount of pressure will be placed on the bone to determine the amount of discomfort that you’re going through.

Your muscle strength, foot structure, and motion of the joints will also be evaluated. In many cases, an x-ray or similar imaging test will be administered as a means of confirming the diagnosis of accessory navicular syndrome. If you’re experiencing severe pain along with the inflammation, it’s possible for more comprehensive tests to be provided.

The treatments used for accessory navicular syndrome fall into the categories of non-surgical and surgical. The goal of non-surgical treatments is to provide relief of the symptoms instead of getting rid of the condition altogether. If you’re experiencing high amounts of swelling, an ice pack could be used to reduce the swelling and help with any pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs can also be prescribed to help with the primary symptoms of the syndrome. There are times when the foot may need to be placed in a walking boot or cast to keep it immobilized and help it heal. If the inflammation and pain don’t go away in a couple of weeks, you might want to consider obtaining some physical therapy to help strengthen your muscles and lessen the inflammation around the bone.

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