Tarsal Coalition

The tarsal bones are found beneath and in front of the the ankle. These are small bones that make the foot and ankle flexible, and help act as shock absorbers during walking and running. These bones include the calcaneus (heel bone), talus, navicular, cuboid and cunieforms.

ankle foot anatomy

Bones of the Foot and Ankle

In some people, these bones grow as one piece rather than as individual units. While this is usually not problematic, it does change the normal walking pattern. There is consequently an higher chance of developing arthrtis in the foot, ankle, knee, hip and back.

Often, people with coalition or abnormal joins between the tarsal bones will develop foot pain in middle age. Alternatively, some people become aware of tarsal coalition after multiple ankle sprains.

The pain and unusual walking pattern associated with tarsal coalition can be treated with shoe modifications (orthoses), physiotherapy and, when need, pain medications. In more severe cases, surgery can be used to separate the bones and restore and more fluid foot.

4 September, 2012