Surgery is never fun at any age, but it can be especially scary when it’s your child going under the knife. So when parents find out their little one has a tarsal coalition—a potentially painful condition where tarsal bones near the back of the foot grow into one another—they’re understandably concerned. Tarsal coalition can cause many problem, including pain, stiffness, a rigid flatfoot, early fatigue, and other problems. If your child develops this condition, will they need surgery?

Obviously we can’t be certain until we’ve had a chance for an evaluation, but the good news is that many cases can be resolved through much gentler, non-invasive means. In fact, we will nearly always exhaust conservative care options before even beginning to consider a surgical procedure.

Conservative care can take many forms. In the immediate term, 3-6 weeks of rest, steroid injections, or temporary immobilization (via a cast or walking boot) may be recommended to give swollen, painful hindfeet a chance to recover and heal.

Over the longer-term, custom orthotics are often among the best treatment solutions. These devices are precision-manufactured to fit an exact mold of your child’s foot, and can help redistribute painful weight and pressure away from the coalition site, as well as provide arch support or any additional aids that may be needed.

Although some combination of these (and other) treatments are usually more than enough, unfortunately some cases are severe enough that they do not adequately respond. Only then will we consider surgery for your child.

You don’t have to be scared, though. Although there are risks associated with any surgery, most operations for tarsal coalition can be performed in our office, without hospitalization, and your child can go back home the same day. Afterward, you’ll be given instructions to help protect the surgical site, give the foot the time needed to heal, and slowly rebuild strength and range of motion through physical therapy.

If your child is suffering pain, stiffness, flat feet, or other problems, please reach out to Carolina Podiatry Group. Nothing is harder for a parent than watching your child suffer, and we’re dedicated to helping your son or daughter get back on their feet and enjoying daily activities without pain once more. You can request an appointment online, or give us a call at 888-569-9559.

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