Results of Nonoperative Treatment for Symptomatic Tarsal Coalitions

Eric Shirley, Radu Gheorghe, Kevin M Neal
Curēus 2018 July 8, 10 (7): e2944

INTRODUCTION: Recommendations for the initial treatment (nonoperative measures to surgical excision) of symptomatic tarsal coalitions vary. Because nonoperative outcomes are poorly established, we retrospectively evaluated their success in preventing surgery and achieving pain relief for pediatric patients with symptomatic tarsal coalitions.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:  A retrospective study of pediatric patients with symptomatic tarsal coalitions treated at a single institution was undertaken. Clinical notes were examined for treatment methods, response to treatment, and need for additional procedures. A statistical analysis was performed using the chi-square and Mann-Whitney U tests.

RESULTS:  Fifty symptomatic tarsal coalitions (mean patient age, 11.4 years; range, 8.1-17.9) were treated with nonoperative measures. Surgery was not required in 79% of calcaneonavicular and 62% of talocalcaneal coalitions. Pain relief was achieved in 53% of 81 nonoperative treatment trials. Continuous immobilization via casting, intermittent immobilization via walking boot, and supportive measures were not significantly different in pain relief (p = 0.35) or preventing surgery (p = 0.62).

CONCLUSION:  Nonoperative treatment methods have the potential to achieve pain relief and prevent or delay surgery for symptomatic tarsal coalitions. However, some families may elect to forgo nonoperative measures knowing that surgery may eventually be required.

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