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:
When Is Surgery Needed?
- Oral medications - Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be helpful in reducing the pain and inflammation.
- Physical therapy - Physical therapy may include massage, range-of-motion exercises and ultrasound therapy.
- Steroid injections - An injection of cortisone into the affected joint reduces the inflammation and pain. Sometimes more than one injection is necessary.
- Orthotic devices - Custom orthotic devices can be beneficial in distributing weight away from the joint, limiting motion at the joint and relieving pain.
- Immobilization - Sometimes the foot is immobilized to give the affected area a rest. The foot is placed in a cast or cast boot, and crutches are used to avoid placing weight on the foot.
- Injection of an anesthetic agent - Injection of an anesthetic into the leg may be used to relax spasms and is often performed prior to immobilization.
If the patient's symptoms are not adequately relieved with nonsurgical treatment, surgery is an option. The foot and ankle surgeon will determine the best surgical approach based the patient's age, condition, arthritic changes and activity level.