How to Treat a Cuboid Injury
Most people have never heard of the cuboid bone, but a cuboid injury could keep you from dancing or running for a long time. In fact, cuboid injuries often occur to ballet dancers and athletes. The cuboid is a bone on the outside of the foot and a cuboid injury could have you on crutches for several weeks. Cuboid injuries can be either acute or chronic.
What is the cuboid?
The cuboid bone is appropriately named because it is shaped like a cube. The rear portion of the bone joins with the calcareous (bone) and forms a joint known as the calcaneocuboid. The front part of the cube connects with the 4th and 5th metatarsals. The metatarsals are long bones connecting to back of the foot to the toes.
The cuboid bone is an important part of foot stability. It’s what keeps you steady on your feet and from stumbling as you walk. A common cuboid injury is subluxation of the cuboid bone. It’s also sometimes called cuboid syndrome. Often, it is caused by overuse and is the result of repetitive actions. It usually presents itself as a dull ache on the side of the foot which gets much more painful when you walk on your foot.
An acute cuboid injury is a broken cuboid. This can happen from a major trauma to the foot or intense physical activity An MRI (magnetic resonance image) is used to determine if the bone is broken or not. X-rays usually are unable to show the break. Some cuboid breaks require a cast while others can be treated with a walking boot and crutches while the bone heals.
Any swelling with this type of cuboid injury can be relieved by applying ice. Pain can usually be treated with a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or prescription pain relievers if it is a severe injury. If the bone is out of place, it might need manipulation to get it realigned correctly. Then it will have to be held in place till it heals.
If you are totally unable to place any weight on your foot, chances are good that you have a broken cuboid. If you use the cuboid intensely day after day, like an athlete or ballet dancer, the same movements over and over again can cause a break as well. Sometimes these kind of breaks can be treated by stabilizing the foot with K-wires and then using a special walking boot for six to eight weeks.
There are complications which can affect a cuboid injury, especially if you have a break. You might require surgery. People who engage in repetitive actions can have long-lasting damage to their feet which makes walking and activities like dancing, running or a sport like basketball impossible. This injury is more apt to occur among people with low arches.
Sometimes the cuboid bone can be broken or injured if you severely twist your ankle. Often, an injured cuboid is much harder to heal than a full-blown break. Various treatments, such as physical therapy, NSAIDs, and even cortisone injections can help but do not cure cuboid subluxation or syndrome.
Cuboid injuries are often misdiagnosed because there are many other foot injuries which cause similar pain and symptoms. Some of these include acute tendonitis of the peroneus longus tendon, arthritis, misalignment of the subtalar and lateral ankle joints, other fractures, including the talus and the os perineum as well as other causes of lateral foot pain.
See a podiatrist
If you should have acute or chronic foot pain, you should see a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment. Your regular doctor may refer you to a podiatrist for more specialized care.