What Is Cuboid Syndrome? Causes, Symptoms And Home Treatment

Cuboid syndrome is one the causes for pain in lateral aspect of foot. The condition mainly pertains to cuboid bone. It is one of the bones which forms and maintains the arc of foot. The bone is situated on the outer side of mid foot.

Cuboid syndrome develops when cuboid bone gets displaced partially from its normal alignment.

It usually occurs due to an injury such as an ankle sprain or gradual repetitive stress to the bone and surrounding tissues as seen in certain sports such as ballet dancing and athletic running.

Although the condition is not difficult to treat, many times the symptoms are misdiagnosed and the pain lingers on for a long period of time. The condition is also called cuboid subluxation or blocked cuboid. Treatment of cuboid syndrome consists of manipulative techniques, rest, ice fomentation, orthotics, pain killers etc. The prognosis is excellent after the treatment.

Causes Of Cuboid Syndrome

Cuboid bone is one of the 8 tarsal bones which form the foot arch. The bone is situated on the outer side (lateral) of mid foot.

It is aligned with the heel bone, the calcaneus, with the help of ligaments. Calcaneocuboid joint is formed between the two bones.

A traumatic injury or gradual repetitive stress can damage the supporting ligament. As a result cuboid bone can partially slip out of its normal placement. A displaced cuboid can block free movement of surrounding tarsal bones.

Cuboid syndrome can occur due to three main causes.

  1. Ankle sprain is the most common injury to cause this bony displacement. Particularly when the heel bone and foot is turned inwards, the ligaments and muscle supporting the cuboid may get damaged. Weakened ligaments provide cuboid bone an access to slip partially from its normal position. Usually the symptoms are sudden after ankle sprain.
  2. Subluxation of cuboid bone occurs when the peroneous muscle which runs on the lateral side of foot gets strained due to repetitive activities. The strained muscle can cause traction of the cuboid bone leading to subluxation. Ballet dancers and runners are the usual sufferers of this condition. The Symptoms develop gradually over a period of time.
  3. People who have flat feet are also known to suffer from cuboid subluxation.

Cuboid Syndrome Symptoms

  • Pain along the outer side of foot is a classical symptom of cuboid syndrome. Pain worsens particularly while walking as the foot has to withstand the entire body weight. Gradually the whole foot begins to pain, from heels to toes after few days or weeks.
  • It is worse in the morning when a person put his foot on the ground. It also increases with activities like jogging or jumping on the ground.
  • Because of subluxation pain patient often begins to limp or walk with an abnormal gait in order to avoid pain.
  • The area is tender to touch and sometimes it becomes swollen. Patient feels comfortable when he is resting.

Home Treatment For Cuboid Syndrome

Cuboid syndrome is often misdiagnosed as there are many other foot related conditions where the symptoms are much similar. Besides, imaging techniques such as X-ray and MRI sometimes fail to clearly define cuboid subluxation. Therefore the physician assesses at all aspects such as clinical examination, medical history, and imaging, to confirm the diagnosis.

Cuboid syndrome can be treated in several ways.

  • A trained physician can fix the displaced cuboid bone in its place with manipulation techniques. With certain force he may be able to push the bone into its place. However, there are some conditions where this method is not possible as in case of fracture or arthritis or any neurovascular problem. After right placement of bone, the pain eases.
  • Applying ice fomentation on the area is helpful in relieving inflammation and pain.
  • Tapping and padding are useful to in providing support to the foot and bone. It also helps to keep the foot stable.
  • Patients with flat foot are benefited by wearing orthotic insoles as one the cause is flat foot. Patient may also require specific footwear.
  • Rest is essential during the time of healing. Avoid activities which can worsen the condition. Patient may find it relaxing by using crutches for few weeks as it helps to reduce the weight on the affected foot.
  • Depending on the severity of pain, the physician may prescribe anti inflammatory remedies.

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