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A tarsal coalition is an abnormal connection that develops between two bones in the back of the foot (the tarsal bones). This abnormal connection, which can be composed of bone, cartilage or fibrous tissue, may lead to limited motion and pain in one or both feet.
The tarsal bones include the calcaneus (heel bone), talus, navicular, cuboid and cuneiform bones. These bones work together to provide the motion necessary for normal foot function.
While many people who have a tarsal coalition are born with this condition, the symptoms generally do not appear until the bones begin to mature, usually around ages 9 to 16. Sometimes no symptoms are present during childhood; however, children may only have flatfeet as a symptom.
The symptoms of tarsal coalition may include one or more of the following:
The goal of nonsurgical treatment of tarsal coalition is to relieve the symptoms and to reduce the motion at the affected joint. One or more of the following options may be used, depending on the severity of the condition and the response to treatment:
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