Tarsal Coalition

A joint, also called an articulation, is comprised by the ends of two bones that are covered by a smooth, spongy surface called cartilage. The purpose of joints is to withstand large compressive and loading forces while allowing fluid movement between the two bones.

A tarsal coalition is a condition that occurs when bone, fibrous tissue or cartilage replaces the normal articular cartilage comprising the joint. This, in turn, alters the functionality of the joint and can lead to limited movement, pain and dysfunction. The most common place for this to occur and have pain is in the rearfoot, i.e. the bones towards the back of foot such as the calcaneus, navicular, talus and cuboid.

The most common reason for this condition developing is due to your genetics and how your foot has formed. Symptoms typically include pain, flattening of your foot or both feet, inability to perform sports or activities, decreased motion, and general fatigue of your feet.

You may be wondering how this condition is diagnosed. The first step is to visit with our specialist for a thorough clinical evaluation and to obtain X-rays. This may help your specialist further refine the type of coalition present to customize a proper treatment plan for you.

Advanced imaging methods are essential for assessing the full extent of a tarsal coalition, particularly when considering surgery. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Computed Tomography (CT) remains the standard for evaluating the coalition’s severity.

Managing tarsal coalition without surgery involves modifying activities, using medications, employing orthotics, and potentially immobilizing the affected area in a short leg cast or boot if initial treatments do not yield success. Should these non-surgical approaches fail, surgical options such as resection or arthrodesis of the involved joint are considered.

Contact our specialists today for a proper evaluation and a recommended treatment plan.


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