Tarsal Coalitions (Bar)


What's a Tarsal Coalition? 

A Tarsal Coalition is an abnormal union of two bones in the midfoot or rearfoot (the tarsus) that are supposed to have developed as separate bones.  Several different bones may develop these sorts of abnormal coalitions.   A coalition is sometimes referred to as a 'bar'.  The bones may be unified by bone, cartilage or fibrous tissues.  

What Kinds of Problems Does a Tarsal Coalition Cause?

The most common symptoms are abnormal motion of joints in the feet (because the bones are joined, they don't move normally).  The patient may develop muscle spasms as a result, as the muscles contract in the attempt to move the bones that are incapable of movement.  This may also result in pain, cramping and an abnormal, altered gait.

How can I tell if I have it?

Clinical examination by a podiatric physician or another practitioner who knows what to look for may give you the diagnosis, but X-Rays, CT , MRI and other imaging studies may be confirmatory. 

What can be Done to Treat Tarsal Coalition? 

The two most common treatments for Tarsal Coalitions are:

1) Orthoses (Orthotics) to control the forces attempting to apply motion to the immovable joint

2) surgical removal of the coalition.  


 

 

 

 

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S. A. Schumacher, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S., F.A.C.F.A.O.M.  
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