Tarsal coalition

Tarsal coalition involves fusion of the tarsal bones in the foot. It is important to note that there are 7 tarsal bones positioned at the rear part of the foot. One is usually born with the condition.

What are the indications?

In most cases, the symptoms include midfoot pain among adolescents which is felt after a strenuous training routine or activity. Oftentimes, the condition becomes evident after an ankle sprain once the pain does not subside.

Other indications include the following:

Tarsal coalition
In most cases, the symptoms include midfoot pain among adolescents which is felt after a strenuous training routine or activity.
  • Collapsed arch of the foot
  • Diminished movement at the ankle joint

The symptoms do not typically manifest until the bones started to mature, usually between the ages of 10-16. Nevertheless, some individuals do not have any symptoms until later in life, possibly only after starting to exercise or suffer an ankle sprain.

What are the causes?

The bones affected by tarsal coalition include the talus, calcaneus, cuboid and the 3 cuneiform bones. The commonly affected joints are the calcaneonavicular joints and the talocalcaneal joint.

The condition typically develops among adolescents as the fibrous joints amidst the bones ossify and harden. This results to diminished range of motion in the rearfoot which strains on the ankle joint. It is important to note that tarsal coalition might develop later in life due to arthritis in the joints, infection or an ankle injury.

Management of tarsal coalition

Once the condition is diagnosed, the foot should be placed in a cast or walking boot. This ensures that the affected feet can rest and minimize the pain and inflammation.

Any biomechanical issues must be corrected that might involve insoles or orthotics. Exercises that aims on improving mobility are also recommended. In addition, corticosteroid injections are also used.

In case the conservative measures are not effective, surgery might be required. The procedure might involve the removal of excess bone growth or fuse completely the 2 joints.

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