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Foot Bone or Joint Injury

Cuboid Syndrome

Minute Read

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Posted 10 months ago

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Last updated: 03/12/2022

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by James McCormack

The cuboid bone is a small cube shape bone positioned on the outer side of the bone between the Navicular, 3rd Cuneiform, Calcaneus, and 4/5th metatarsals. It isn’t a common cause of foot pain and can often be overlooked as part of a differential diagnosis.

When the cuboid bone becomes overloaded, it may become irritated between the bony articulations surrounding it, leading to what is known as cuboid syndrome. This article discusses the causes, symptoms, and treatment of Cuboid Syndrome.

Cuboid Syndrome Symptoms

Cuboid syndrome is associated with pain on the outside of the foot. There may be some mild swelling, but this is not always the case, and there is rarely any visible bruising. Walking, hopping, and jumping can cause pain outside the foot, and in irritable cases, there may be soreness with weight-bearing. Cuboid syndrome can cause a reduced range of movement in the mid-foot, and it may be tender to palpate over the bone.

Cuboid Syndrome Causes

  • Repetitive ankle sprains
  • Biomechanical imbalance
  • Trips or falls
  • High pronation forces lead to excess pressure on the lateral foot

Cuboid Syndrome Diagnosis

If you have pain outside the foot, we always recommend a consultation with a Physical Therapist or a Sports Medicine Doctor. After a careful examination, it is possible to establish a diagnosis. This is primarily performed by ruling out all other possibilities, as few evidence-based tests for Cuboid syndrome exist.

Any cuboid irritation and swelling are usually minimal, so it is unlikely to be detected by x-ray, MRI, or CT Scan. For this reason, an appointment with a foot specialist who is experienced in managing soft tissue injuries of the foot is highly recommended.

picture of foot with Cuboid syndrome pain

Home Treatment for Cuboid Syndrome

If you do not have access to a medical professional, we would recommend applying to POLICE principle to the management of suspected Cuboid Syndrome.

 

  • P: Protect the area by offloading and reducing strain through the foot for the first 1-3 days
  • O & L: Optimal Loading is recommended to keep some range of motion in the foot and ankle so that it does not become stiffer and more painful
  • I: Ice can be used as an analgesic to manage pain levels and facilitate rehabilitation
  • E: Elevation after activity can help manage any swelling.

Cuboid Syndrome Treatment

Treatment with a Physical Therapist who specialises in foot conditions is recommended for Cuboid Syndrome. Professional treatment includes typically soft tissue massage to help relax and lengthen the calf and foot muscles. Mobilisations of the cuboid bone and surrounding bones may be combined with manipulation of the cuboid bone.

Taping may be used to protect and offload the lateral foot. A Physical Therapist may conduct a gait analysis to determine if there is a biomechanical overload of the lateral foot.

Stretches and strengthening exercises are likely to be prescribed to address muscular imbalances of the foot and ankle, while advice on footwear and custom insoles may be prescribed to optimise the function of the foot.

Picture of person standing on Insoles for Cuboid Syndrome

Does Cuboid Syndrome heal on its own?

In the early stages of cuboid syndrome, if the POLICE principle is applied then there is a chance that cuboid syndrome can heal on it’s own. If you try this and there is no success, we recommend that you see a foot specialist.

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice. We recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack. He offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.

Related Article: Cuboid Fractures: Symptoms & Diagnosis

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