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Tarsal Coalition

When the bones of the foot fuse together, this is known as tarsal coalition. It is an abnormal boney fusion or connection between the bones. This coalition is genetically inherited and can occur in both feet.

The tarsal bones are the seven larger bones that make up the back of the foot; behind the toes and the attached metatarsal bones.  Bone coalitions are not too common.

When typically is tarsal coalition diagnosed?

Commonly diagnosed during childhood, tarsal coalition may present as a flat, rigid foot.  This condition restricts the natural movement of the bones in the foot, which is the main cause of pain. Pain is typically felt around the ankle joint, and is normally felt ‘deep’ within the foot.

Patients will typically see their GP or Brisbane podiatrist about an undiagnosed tarsal coalition due to pain or  loss of mobility such as running.

The calcaneonavicular and talocalcaneal joints are the most common tarsal joins found.

How is tarsal coalition diagnosed?

A tarsal coalition is detected with specific x-ray views and CT scans that are more accurate in identifying the specific area of the joining.  There are a number treatments for this condition.

How does a Brisbane podiatrist treat tarsal coalition?

A cortisone injection may be enough to settle a painful joint.

Podiatrists routinely use orthotics and appropriate footwear which is designed to minimise unnatural movement of the joint, which will in turn minimise discomfort.  Some coalitions may still remain painful.

Surgical intervention is often an option, and will either include a resection (separation) of the bones, or an arthrodesis (fusion) of the surrounding bones to limit painful movement.