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Tarsal Coalition

What is a Tarsal Coalition?

A tarsal coalition is a congenital condition in which bones of the foot fail to separatean extra bone in the foot that some people are born with. It is a common condition, found in approximately 12% of the population. In the majority of patients it causes no symptoms.

What causes a tarsal coalition?

A tarsal coalition is a congenital condition in which there is a failure of separation of bones during development. The bridge between the two bones can be fibrous or bone.

What are the symptoms of a tarsal coalition?

Patients with a tarsal coalition often have no symptoms and the patients are even unaware that they have the condition. For some patients there is foot pain and a flatfoot disorder that presents during adolescence.

How is a tarsal coalition diagnosed?

A tarsal coalition is diagnosed by thorough history and physical examination. X-rays are typically ordered to look for the presence of the coalition. An MRI and/or CT may also be useful to assess for a suspected coalition not seen on X-ray or to assess the size of the coalition.

How is a tarsal coalition treated?

Nonsurgical treatment

Conservative treatment for a tarsal coalition is often effective and is focused on resting the area and is often achieved with use of a cast or walking boot, ice, activity modification and anti-inflammatory medications.

Operative treatment

Operative treatment can be necessary in patients who fail conservative therapy. Surgery for a tarsal coalition can involve resecting just the coalition if only a portion f the joint is involved. If the entire joint is involved or arthritis has developed, a fusion may be performed.