People band together for all sorts of reasons. Here in Orange County the Heart and Soul Coalition formed in the early 2000s to preserve the history and scenery on Rancho Ladera Ranch lands. Coalitions can be helpful in getting things done, but in your feet they can lead to painful problems.

In medical terms, a coalition is a bridge of bone, cartilage, or fibers that forms between two bones. A tarsal coalition occurs at the back of your foot with two or more tarsal bones. It normally happens before birth, although bothersome symptoms may not show up until the bones mature. However, a disease like arthritis, an injury, or even an infection can cause a bridge to form.

Some common symptoms of this condition include pain when on your feet, tiredness or spasms in the legs, flat feet or stiff foot and ankle, and a limp. Many times these do not occur until adulthood, and the condition is discovered upon examination or through X-rays.

As we usually do, we will try conservative methods of treatment first to see if we can relieve your pain and stiffness. This may include oral or injected medications, immobilizing the area or designing custom orthoses to relieve pressure on the sore area, and physical therapy remedies such as massage, exercises, and ultrasound treatments.

If these do not help your pain and stiffness, surgery may be the best option. This may involve resection—removing the bridge and putting fatty tissue or muscle in its place. This allows the joints between the bones to still move. For arthritic patients with bone degeneration, a better option may be to fuse the bones together in the right position and limit joint movement, and thus the pain.

If you need surgery, we will provide the information you need at every step in the process, including your recovery. This will include wearing a cast for a while and not putting weight on your foot until the bones have healed.

To find out why your feet are stiff and painful, call Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists at (949) 364-9255 (WALK) and let us take a look at them. We specialize in reconstructive surgery of the foot and ankle, so if that is the best course for you, you can trust our expert care. If you have any questions or want to set an appointment, don’t hesitate to contact us via our online form as well as by phone.