Tarsal coalition describes an abnormal fusion/connection of two or more bones within the back of the foot. The fusion of these bones would limit normal movement on the affected joints. It is due to the failure of your bone cells to differentiate during the early phases of growth development, in the embryonic stages. Less common causes of tarsal coalition include infection, arthritis, or a previous injury to the area. Diagnosis is through x-ray examination.
- Painful sensation felt in adolescence or early adulthood when the bones reach their maturity. As the bones fuse, the motion in the particular joint would be restricted causing pain.
- Tired or fatigued legs
- Walking with a limp
- Recurrent ankle sprains
- Spastic Flat Foot-due to contracture of the Peroneals as the body attempts to reduce pain
- Reduced inversion (turning your heel inwards).
- Stiffness of the foot and ankle
Treatment for Tarsal Coalition
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Neurofen etc)
- Physical therapy - may include massage, range-of-motion exercises, and ultrasound therapy.
- Custom orthotic devices can be beneficial in distributing weight away from the joint, limiting motion at the joint and relieving pain.
- Immobilization - the foot is immobilized in a cast or boot to give the affected area a rest.
- If the patient's symptoms are not adequately relieved with nonsurgical treatment, surgery is an option