Feeling pain on the outside edge of your foot (lateral foot pain) is usually the first thing people with cuboid syndrome notice. It’s a relatively common condition, but not always recognized since it can come on slowly over time.
Trauma to the foot, be it a sudden injury or gradually repetitive forces may damage the supporting soft tissues causing the cuboid bone to move out of its usual position. It can then act like a block, limiting the movement of the surrounding bones in the foot.
This may happen suddenly due to an injury such as an ankle sprain, or develop gradually over time from repetitive tension through the bone and surrounding structures.
The 3 main causes of the cuboid syndrome is from a injury (sprain most likely inversion), repetitive strain (overuse, running, jumping) or altered foot biomechanics (foot pronation or flat feet).
The symptoms related to a cuboid syndrome can be lateral foot pain, swelling around the cuboid area, decreased ankle mobility and increased pain in weight bearing.
It is strongly recommended to seek help from your physiotherapist as the cuboid syndrome will not appear on a xray, unless there is an actual fracture of the cuboid bone.
Your physiotherapist will assess the condition and evaluate what is causing the cuboid the shift out of alignment. The assessment will not only include the foot and lower leg but the whole lower quadrant (Low back, hip and knee) because as you know, it’s all connected !!
The peroneus longus muscle runs down the outer side of the lower leg attaching on to the outer side of the foot. Tension placed through this muscle from repetitive activities usually locks the cuboid in the altered position causing sustained pain.
If you remember the previous article on the glutes, you will remember that the glute muscles help to stabilize your pelvis to avoid your knees to shift medially and cause your foot to pronate. By losing your arch support, you keep the cuboid blocked in the injured position.
Your therapist will be able to mobilize the cuboid in the right alignment with manual therapy techniques, release the soft tissue in the lower leg and foot (peroneus longus mostly), tape the foot to support the cuboid in the corrected position, show individualized exercises to your condition.
If the exercises and other techniques are not sufficient to old your foot arch, orthotics can be needed to support the structures. Come and see Katie, physiotherapist at the clinic for custom orthotic fitting!
RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) is always a good start at home to help the inflammation process when you notice the pain.
The cuboid syndrome is fairly easy to treat if it’s recognized early!
Keep your eyes open on the blog for an example of exercise program to follow if you think you are experiencing pain from a cuboid syndrome.