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Tarsal Coalition - to operate or not?

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Old 05-31-2005, 10:42 AM   #1
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 7
Kgrady HB User
Unhappy Tarsal Coalition - to operate or not?

I'm 21 and was diagnosed with tarsal coalition in my left foot when I was 14. I was advised not to bother with an operation, and was told I shouldn't do any high impact activities like running, or else I could shatter my shins (don't like the sound of that!)
Two years ago I sprained my ankle by walking quickly (over a period of a week). My ankle has been swollen ever since, and I've had varying degrees of pain with it, from 'crikey, I can't put any weight on this' to 'slight twinge'. I saw a physio for several months, who tried everything to get the swelling down, but eventually gave up and suggested it was all due to the coalition, and that I should go see an Orthopaedic consultant. After X-Rays and CT scans, they're basically saying it's a boney coalition, and the surrounding joints have already suffered some damage.
But here's my problem. One consultant said operations weren't that successful. Another said they were the only option. From what I've read on the Internet, either they work fine, or they cause even more problems, and require follow up operations to re-fuse the bones, which can go on to cause damage to the surrounding joints eventually. That's the problem I'm having now! I'm not in constant pain, though I can't walk quickly and if I over-do it then I'm limping. I want to improve this condition, but I don't want to go through a painful operation and weeks of recovery only to end up with exactly the same problem.
Please can people tell me their stories - if they had the operation or if they chose not to. No one will tell me what'll happen if I don't have it. I'm afriad of consultants who use surgery as their only option. But I'm also really frustrated that I'm 21 and find my ankle getting stiff in the mornings. My friends did a marathon a few weeks ago and it kills me that I can't do the same. Just walking without pain would be nice!
Any replies would be fab.

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Old 09-12-2005, 07:39 PM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 25
gimpy123 HB User
Re: Tarsal Coalition - to operate or not?

Hi not sure if you will read this but I also have a (talocalcaneal) tarsal coalition that is congenital (since birth) and osseous (boney). I am 32. I started being really bothered by it when I was 25 and as you are experiencing- I was told I might be too old to get away with a resection. I am having a fusion tomorrow. I had to do it because I can barely exercise at this point.

If I were you I would do alooot of research and find out exactly how much of your joint is fused and talk to several doctors (soon) so that you can figure this out and have a solution before you age any more. Once you are 25 its pretty much 0 chance of resection. (If you have to do surgery a resection is much much better than a fusion) and no one bothered to tell me this until I talked to my 5th specialist. No one gave me a sense of urgency.

Don't make any quick decisions but see several specialists, try orthotics, get physical therapy and try something called prolotherapy (I think thats what its called)....but do it all soon and see how you feel. You may need the fusion but at least you tried all your options.

Also- I wish I had had the surgery done earlier because I am now in a rush to do it all so I can have children since I cannot put wait on my foot right now...

Anyway- thanks for letting me vent my thoughts! Good luck with your surgery and respond if you see this....

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