Are you having trouble recovering from an ankle sprain? Jennings and Davies (2005) produced a report that shows that one little bone in the foot might be responsible for your lasting issues.

The cuboid bone sits between your heel bone and the beginning of your 5th toe on the outside of your foot. The report states that with Cuboid Syndrome, the bone is pushed out of place, or subluxed, which leads to instability or insufficient movement within the connecting joints of the cuboid to the heel and 5th metatarsal. Pain is severe, especially in the push-off phase of walking, and in moving the cuboid towards the top and bottom of the foot or turning the foot down and in. Redness and swelling are other signs of Cuboid Syndrome. It is important to rule out tendon injuries or bone fractures, as this area of the foot also trends to those injuries. The article explains that Cuboid Syndrome is most common in people who excessively pronate at their midtarsal joint. This puts the heel joint in an unstable position and the fibularis longus muscle tendon, which runs underneath the cuboid, a mechanical can pull up on the bone and alter its alignment. This mechanism predisposes many runners to Cuboid Syndrome, this is even more true for those runners with a history of ankle sprains.

To treat Cuboid Syndrome, the authors explain the first measure is to reset any malalignment that is present in the joint. A mobilization or a manipulation of the cuboid back into place is highly successful in relieving most of pain and other symptoms experienced.

After back-to-back days of manipulation, stabilizing the bone in the correct place is the next goal. Stretching tight tissues and strengthening weaker muscles, in combination with taping or orthotics, are successful in adding just the right amount of stability to prevent future recurrence.

Treatment of Cuboid Syndrome Secondary to Lateral Ankle Sprains: A Case Series Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy 2005 35: 7, 409-415

Kathleen Leninger, DPT
Garrett Kale, SPT