01 Feb 2017 Tarsal Coalition and Joint Fusions
One of those tricky diagnoses that can get missed!
What is a Tarsal Coalition?
The tarsal bones in the middle of the foot form joints that are integral for proper function of the foot and lower leg. On occasions an abnormal growth of bone or fibrous tissue occurs across these joints and can decrease or even cease your child’s range of motion through these joints. When this occurs it impacts upon the natural growth and development of the foot and lower limb and is often painful for your child.
So what causes a Tarsal Coalition to occur?
– Tarsal coalitions can occur from a genetic error in the dividing of the embryonic cells that form the tarsal bones during foetal development.
– Result from trauma or infection
– In rare cases self-fusion of a joint can occur secondary to an advanced arthritis
What are the symptoms?
Despite most children being born with a tarsal coalition a child typically doesn’t have any pain or symptoms until the age of 8-16. Around late childhood/adolescence the bones begin to ossify (turn from cartilage into bone) it is during this period when the tarsal bones harden that it becomes painful. Typical symptoms often include; Pain, rigidity, muscle spasms and a severe flat foot.
What treatment is available?
Conservative measures are often affective in relieving your child’s pain however, in some cases a surgical intervention may be required:
– Casting/boots can be used to immobilise the foot for an extended period of time.
– Orthotics can be used to support the affected structures within the foot and ankle
– Anti-inflammatory medications and anaesthetic or cortisone injections can be used to temporarily relieve symptoms and pain
– Stretching and physical therapy
If you feel this may be an issue for your child, please do not hesitate to contact us to make an appointment on 8645 9845. Alternatively you can make an online booking here.