Tarsal coalition is a condition that occurs when two or more bones in the back of the foot are joined together by abnormal, fibrous or cartilaginous tissue. This can cause the affected joint to become stiff and painful, and limit the range of motion in the foot.
Tarsal coalition is most commonly found in the middle of the foot, where the talus bone connects to the calcaneus and the navicular bones. It can also occur in the back of the foot, where the calcaneus bone connects to the cuboid bone.
Symptoms of tarsal coalition can include pain, stiffness, and limited mobility in the affected foot or ankle, especially during physical activity or prolonged standing. In some cases, there may also be a noticeable limp or a visibly flattened arch in the affected foot.
Treatment for tarsal coalition typically involves non-surgical options such as immobilization with a cast or boot, physical therapy, and/or the use of orthotic devices to support the foot and relieve pressure on the affected joint. In more severe cases, surgery may be recommended to remove the abnormal tissue and restore normal joint function.
Some of the common causes or risk factors of tarsal coalition include:
Congenital factors: Tarsal coalition is often present at birth and may be caused by genetic factors that affect the development of the bones and joints in the feet.
Family history: People with a family history of tarsal coalition may be more likely to develop the condition themselves.
Syndromes: Certain genetic syndromes, such as fibular hemimelia or multiple synostoses syndrome, may increase the risk of developing tarsal coalition.
Abnormal foot mechanics: Abnormal foot mechanics, such as flat feet or high arches, can put extra stress on the joints in the feet and increase the risk of tarsal coalition.