Patient-reported Outcomes of Tarsal Coalitions Treated With Surgical Excision

Susan T Mahan, Samantha A Spencer, Peter S Vezeridis, James R Kasser
Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics 2015, 35 (6): 583-8

PURPOSE: There are little patient-reported data on functional outcomes of tarsal coalition resection in children and adolescents. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the medium-term (>2 y) outcomes in patients who have had surgical excision of their symptomatic tarsal coalition and to compare patient-based outcomes in patients who have calcaneonavicular (CN) coalitions to those with talocalcaneal (TC) coalitions.

METHODS: A billing query was conducted to identify patients who had surgical excision of their tarsal coalition between 2003 and 2008. Eligible patients were mailed questionnaires consisting of a modified American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) score and the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) activity scale. Patients were also specifically asked if their activity level was limited by their foot pain. Only patients who returned questionnaires were included. Demographics and diagnostic images were reviewed. A nonresponder analysis was completed. Complications such as infection and reoperation were reported.

RESULTS: Sixty-three patients (22 females, 41 males) who returned questionnaires were included in the analysis. Twenty-four patients had bilateral surgery. TC coalitions were present in 20 patients (32%); CN coalitions were present in 43 patients (68%).Overall, mean modified AOFAS score was 88.3 and mean UCLA activity score was 8.33 at an average of 4.62 years after surgery. Patients who had TC coalitions had similar modified AOFAS scores (88.4) and UCLA activity scores (8.4) when compared with those with CN coalitions (88.0 and 8.3, both not significant).Of the 73% (46/63) patients who reported that their activity levels were not limited by their foot pain, the mean AOFAS score was 93.9 and the mean UCLA activity score was 8.9; 32 of these were CN and 14 were TC coalitions. Of the 27% (17/63) patients who reported that their activity levels were limited by their foot pain, the mean AOFAS score was 72.9 and the mean UCLA activity score was 6.9; 11 of these were CN and 6 were TC coalitions. There was a statistically significant difference in these groups both in modified AOFAS score (P<0.0001) and UCLA activity score (P=0.006). There was no difference in outcomes between those who were treated for a TC and CN coalition.

CONCLUSIONS: Patient-reported outcomes after surgical excision of tarsal coalition reveal that >70% of patients' activities are not limited by pain and their functional outcome is terrific. A few patients continue to have problems with ongoing foot pain and activity limitations. The type of coalition does not seem to be an indicative factor in determining outcome.

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