What is Cuboid Syndrome?
Cuboid syndrome – sometimes called cuboid subluxation – is a painful condition resulting from a slight injury to a joint in your foot called the calcaneocuboid joint, as well as ligaments in the area of the cuboid bone, which is just one of a little over half a dozen tarsal bones in the human foot. If that sounds too complicated, don’t worry. We’re going to explain it more in-depth below. Just keep reading.
How does this condition show itself? You often notice it in the form of lateral foot pain and even general weakness in the foot. It can be a little scary at first. Cuboid syndrome is actually very common, but it’s not very easily defined or recognized, which makes it difficult to discover if you have it or not, or if it is something else resembling it.
The condition goes by many names. It is sometimes called lateral plantar neuritis, peroneal cuboid syndrome, and locked cuboid and subloxed cuboid. Getting told you have that by a podiatrist can be a little scary, because it does sound scary, but it is not a serious condition.
An In-Depth Look at Cuboid Syndrome
The cuboid is just one tiny little bone on the outer part of the midfoot. It is connected to the heel bone with strong ligaments and a joint capsule, which together form the calcaneocuboid joint.
When you have an injury or repetitive stress injury to the foot, it can hurt the supporting soft tissue, and the cuboid bone can move out of its normal position. It will then behave like a block, restricting the movement of the bones surrounding it. That can be quite painful. It is wise to schedule an appointment quickly with a highly rated podiatrist.
Cuboid Syndrome Causes
There are three primary causes of Cuboid Syndrome.
1). Trauma or Injury – This is by far the most common cause. An inversion ankle sprain can cause cuboid subluxation. What is this exactly? This is when foot and heel bone are forced inward, and the cuboid is forced outward. The soft tissue responsible for holding the bone in place can be damaged. This can lead to it partially dislocating. When this happens, the pain will come on all of a sudden.
2.) Ongoing Strain – If you engage in a repetitive activity like running, jumping, or ballet, it can put stress on the peroneus longus muscle, which can lead to the problem. The symptoms will occur gradually y over time and come and go.
3.) Flat Feet – Several studies have shown that people suffering from this condition have overpronated feet, called flat feet for short.
How Do You First Notice Cuboid Syndrome?
Someone with cuboid syndrome will usually seek out a doctor after having pain, weakness, or discomfort on the lateral part of the foot, exactly in between the 4th ad 5th metatarsals and the calcaneocuboid joint. The pain might actually radiate throughout the foot, which can be acutely painful. You might feel some tenderness over the peroneous longus muscle tendon, and you might have an antalgic gait, too. An antalgic gait is a way that you walk to avoid pain. You don’t put weight on the tender part of the foot. The podiatrist will attempt to observe the pain in a controlled setting. You will either stand on your toes or roll the arches of the foot, because these motions tend to exercise the calcaneocuboid joint and ligament, which are often strained in a person with cuboid syndrome. The pain may come on all at once, or it may gradually build up over time. And the pain can disappear completely, only to return again.
Cuboid Syndrome Treatment
Despite how terrible Cuboid Syndrome sounds, you can treat it pretty easily. Most people return back to a normal activity level once the pain is reduced. It can be easy to mistake this condition for something else, so have a trained podiatrist look at it and determine what is really going on. It could be something entirely different than what you think it is.
Once you get a diagnosis of Cuboid Syndrome, a trained professional may begin by re-aligning the subluxed cuboid. This type of manipulation shouldn’t be attempted by anyone other than a trained professional. Consult a highly rated podiatrist, chiropractor, athletic trainer, or physical therapist. It would be unwise to try manual adjustment on your own, or to work with someone less than perfectly qualified. You could end up doing more harm than good. The medical professional may recommend that you be fit with a custom orthotic.
Cuboid Syndrome Risk Factors
There are many risk factors for Cuboid Syndrome. If you are morbidly obese, have midtarsal instability, if you wear poor footwear, or if you exercise too frequently, you’ve got a much higher risk for Cuboid Syndrome.