Bone, Joint and Muscle Conditions

Tarsal Coalition Treatment

Tarsal Coalition Treatment Options

We treat all children with tarsal coalition conservatively. Our goal is to end their pain.

For children with mild cases, this means cutting back on the activities that cause pain and taking anti-inflammatory medicines.

If your child has more severe pain, they may wear a cast or a rigid boot for about six weeks to hold their foot still. This is called immobilization treatment. Some children's feet will remain free of pain after we remove the cast or boot.

Surgery for Tarsal Coalition

Failed resection thumb. Courtesy of 'Fundamentals of Pediatric Orthopedics,' © 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Failed resection.

For pain that comes back or continues after we have tried the immobilization treatment, we offer a full range of surgical options. We recommend surgical treatments based on the type, severity and complexity of your child's tarsal coalition.

In early and mild cases, we may perform an operation to remove the tarsal coalition. Then the doctor puts fat or a small, nearby muscle in the place of the tarsal coalition.

After this operation, your child will wear a cast for three weeks. They are not allowed to walk on the foot for at least six weeks. We teach your child exercises to help them regain movement in the joints of their feet.

For children with the most severe and widespread tarsal coalitions and those with the flattest feet, joint preserving surgery may help. We developed this procedure at Seattle Children's.

Our research shows that the operation for flexible flatfoot (calcaneal lengthening osteotomy) also works to relieve pain and correct the deformity of severe tarsal coalitions.