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Bling for your feet?

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Bling for your feet?

Jane Lawler

Did you know there are a number of bones in the foot which are known as ‘accessory bones’? This is not a literal accessorizing of your feet, they are actually extra bones which are normal variations of anatomy, present in some people. And they have very cool names!

One of these bones is called the ‘accessory navicular’ (medically called the ‘os tibiale externum’) which occurs in about 10% of the population. It’s a prominent bone around the arch area of your foot, and often associated with very flat feet. Sometimes people think they have an extra growth because it sticks out so much! They are not always associated with pain and there is no need to do anything about them if that is the case. Some people however do experience pain around these extra bones, often detected in adolescents, and usually in active kids.

Another accessory bone is called the ‘os trigonum’. This one is found at the back of the ankle and is found in about 7% of people. Again, it is often detected in early years, between the ages of 7-13 years of age, but can be missed and then found in adulthood. The os trigonum can be particularly nasty in people who undertake sports that involve pointing the toes, like ballet dancers for instance, or sports that involve lots of jumping or kicking, like football. Sometimes they go completely unnoticed until someone sprains an ankle and they cause pain behind the ankle that doesn’t really settle down.

Treatment of accessory bones involves proper clinical assessment and the use of medical imaging. In many cases treatment is not needed, unless there is pain. Treatment might involve strapping, physical therapies, control of foot motion with customised orthoses, modifying activities, injection, or surgery.
If you think you or your child might have an accessory bone, come in for a professional and thorough assessment.