Cuboid Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Cuboid SyndromeDid you know that there are some similarities between athletes and ballet dancers? One of the easiest comparisons between athletes and ballet dancers are the injuries. Both groups can be afflicted with particular injuries that you don’t usually get without doing a sport or performing ballet. Take cuboid syndrome for instance.

Cuboid syndrome is a type of injury that affects a particular bone in the foot, and it appears quite commonly in athletes and ballet dancers. But why is it so common between those two? What are cuboid syndrome symptoms? What are cuboid syndrome treatments? We’ll cover all of this and more, so if you’re curious, keep reading.

The Causes and Symptoms of Cuboid Syndrome

The first thing you need to know is what cuboid syndrome is. Cuboid syndrome is when the cuboid (one of the five bones that make up the midfoot) becomes partially dislocated due to repetitive injury, ankle sprain, or severe trauma. These are the types of injuries associated with ballet dancers, runners, and any sport that features similar movements.

The cuboid is a bone that is key to stabilization of the outer midfoot and helps distribute your body’s weight. When you have cuboid syndrome, there are several symptoms that can affect your day to day life.

These symptoms include the following:

  • Difficulties in walking
  • Acute or chronic aching pain on the outer side of the foot
  • Lateral part of the foot is tender to the touch, and is red and swollen
  • Pain increases when the patient walks or puts pressure on the foot
  • Pain usually reduces after complete rest

The midfoot is uncomfortable or painful. The patient may have issues with pain if they are hopping on one foot, assuming they can even hop on one foot, or will more than likely walk funny. They may also experience a decrease in motion, and ankle movements can be painful, especially inversion.

As you can see, unless you are a doctor, some of the symptoms could be related to different types of foot injuries. So, how do you know that you have cuboid syndrome?

Diagnosis of Cuboid Syndrome

Cuboid syndrome is rather hard to diagnose. The symptoms that we previously mentioned are very similar to many symptoms of other foot injuries. It’s due to this that a regular doctor may refer you to a podiatrist, a doctor that specializes in the foot and foot injuries.

The podiatrist will ask you about your physical activities and past injuries to the foot and ankle area. While imaging tests like x-rays may be used, cuboid syndrome will usually be diagnosed through physical tests and exams.

1. Midtarsal Adduction Test

Stabilizing the ankle joint with the right hand, the podiatrist will take their left hand and hold the foot around the midpoint and move it inward towards the other foot. Doing this compresses the patient’s calcaneocuboid joint and may cause the symptoms of cuboid syndrome.

2. Midtarsal Supination Test

The podiatrist stabilizes the ankle joint while he or she manipulates the foot in roughly a half-circle. This motion will also cause the pain of cuboid syndrome.

After these tests, if the diagnosis comes back as cuboid syndrome, you can then begin treatment.

Treating Cuboid Syndrome

Now that you have a diagnosis of cuboid syndrome, you can move on to treat it. Your podiatrist will recommend one or two courses of action to help you get back on your feet.

1. Relocation

The first step and possibly the most painful is relocation. This procedure should only be performed by a medical professional, as it involves the cuboid bone being moved back into place. It is done in a thrust motion and may hurt. After relocation, you can move to the next steps to heal the area that the dislocation may have injured.

2. Rest

Rest can help most strains and pulls. It can give the tissue around the cuboid bone time to heal. You’ll be told to stay off the afflicted foot as much as possible for a certain amount of time. You may have to use a wheelchair and crutches to help keep the weight off your foot so that you can still do things.

3. Immobilization

The podiatrist will tape, pad, and use compression bandages to immobilize your ankle and foot so everything can heal into place. The padding can help minimize reinjury.

4. Cold Compress

A cold compress or ice pack can help reduce swelling and pain on your injured foot. The ice pack should be applied for 5 to 6 minutes at a time, three times a day.

5. Orthotics

Orthotics are prescription foot appliances that can help everything stay in place on your foot.

6. Exercises

After the foot has healed a bit, you will need to perform certain foot exercises to build up strength and flexibility.

Hopefully, with these treatments, your foot will be as good as new.

Cuboid Syndrome Takes Time to Heal

Cuboid syndrome hurts, and it can be uncomfortable. It can make walking and moving a pain, but luckily, it’s very treatable. The most important thing to remember is not to rush the healing time.

More than anything else, cuboid syndrome takes time and patience to repair. If you rush through your treatment, you may cause future injury. If you take your time and follow the doctor’s orders, you may be able to come back as good as new.

“Cuboid Syndrome – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Exercises,” Pain Care;
Armstrong, K., “Cuboid Syndrome: Symptoms and Treatment Options,” Foot Vitals, October 30, 2015;
“Cuboid Syndrome,” Foot Pain Explored;