What is Tarsal Coalition? A Little-known Cause of Deep Heel Pain
Pain is frustrating. It often keeps you from doing what you would like to do, especially if it occurs in your feet. When they hurt, activities that involve walking, running, jumping, or even just standing are affected. You don’t realize how much you use your feet until one of them begins to hurt. You know when you sprain your ankle or stub your toe, but sometimes you can’t figure out what’s causing the discomfort in your foundation. One possible reason for pain deep in your heel or ankle is a condition called tarsal coalition.
Bones of the Heel – Unite!
Actually, the bones uniting or fusing together – coalition – is the problem. Normal foot structure involves bones being held together by ligaments and tied to tendons and muscles, all working together wonderfully to move the foot however we want. When the bones of the heel structure are fused directly to one another, their ability to move is limited and this rigidity can result in pain in the heel.
Many experts believe this is an inherited condition, although no gene has been identified yet. It is usually present as soon as a child is born, but it may not be noticed until adolescent years, or when a parent notices that the child’s feet are not as flexible, seem to be flatter, or turn outward when walking. Sometimes symptoms may not appear until adulthood, and some people with this condition never have symptoms at all. Occasionally this condition can be caused by diseases like arthritis, by an infection, or by an injury to the joint.
How Do I Treat My Heel or Ankle Pain?
First, you need to be sure what is causing it. Tarsal Coalition is not common, so it’s possible something else is at the root of your pain. The only way to know for sure is to have your feet evaluated. Dr. Stavros Alexopoulos and the staff at My Chicago Foot Expert specialize in Tarsal Coalition Treatment. We will discuss your symptoms and use X-ray, MRI, or CT scan technology to diagnose the cause of your troubles. Usually there are conservative treatments that can help relieve your symptoms. These may include reducing movement in the joint with a cast or boot to rest it and let it heal. It is amazing what your body can do to heal itself if you take the time to listen to what it is telling you and rest. Further treatments may include prescribing anti-inflammatory pain relievers, as well as designing custom orthotics to stabilize the foot motion and correct any gait problems. Physical therapy and steroid or anesthetic injections are also options. If all of these methods fail to address the problem, we may consider surgery.
Properly treated, a condition like tarsal coalition doesn’t have to put a damper on your lifestyle. Whenever you notice that your feet are starting to give you problems, call My Chicago Foot Expert right away at (773) 561-8100. We have the expertise to help you reach the goal of having healthy feet that let you live your life without pain and limitations. Don’t delay – call today, or book an appointment on our website. You deserve the best foot care Chicago has to offer!