Do you remember when you were a teenager: the questions, the doubts, the fear you experienced? With all the things our children must learn and accept in our complex society today, the least of their concerns should be problems with physical development, especially ongoing foot pain. Among the more painful foot conditions which may develop during the teen years is a Tarsal Coalition, an abnormal connection between two bones at the rear of the foot, generally causing pain and an awkward gait.

If your teenager is complaining of pain in the foot, or has developed an unusual walking style, the doctors at the Foot & Ankle Center of Washington specialist in the treatment of teenage foot pain.

Generally, a Tarsal Coalition will develop in the womb, yet will not become problematic until the child ages, usually from the ages of 9-16, as the child becomes more active and places more stress on the bones. In some, the condition will not manifest until even later in life.

Tarsal Coalition Symptoms…

  • Mild to severe pain when walking or standing
  • Regularly tired or fatigued legs
  • Muscle spasms in the affected leg, causing the foot to turn outward when walking
  • Flatfoot
  • Walking with a limp
  • Stiffness in the foot and ankle

As always, it is the goal of our doctors, to treat your children conservatively, without surgery. In fact, we will use every treatment protocol possible to end your child’s teenage foot pain without surgery, and we have been very successful in doing so.

Conservative Treatment of Tarsal Coalition

FootChair Adjustable Arch Orthotic

  • Orthotic devices. Custom orthotic devices can be most beneficial in distributing your child’s weight away from the affected joint, limiting motion at the joint and relieving pain. If you are not able to get a custom orthotic try an over-the-counter device. The FootChair Adjustable Arch Orthotic has the best arch height we have found on an over-the-counter arch support to transfer pressure off your joints as it is the only OTC orthotic to have an adjustable arch.
  • Immobilization. Sometimes the foot must be immobilized to give the affected area time to rest. The foot may be placed in a cast or cast boot, and crutches are recommended to avoid placing weight on the affected foot.
  • Injection of an anesthetic agent. Injection of an anesthetic into the affected leg may be used to relax muscle spasms, and is often performed prior to immobilization of the affected foot.

If your teenager is complaining of any of the symptoms above, or is you have noticed any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see Dr. Hale or Dr. Huppin as soon as possible in our Seattle office, for accurate diagnosis, treatment, and relief of his or her teenage foot pain.

Dr. Douglas S. Hale

Dr. Douglas S. Hale

Specialist in foot and ankle biomechanics/orthotics and reconstructive surgery at Foot and Ankle Center of Washington
Douglas S. Hale, DPM, is an advisor for the International Foot & Ankle Foundation for Education and Research. He graduated with honors from both Tulane University School of Engineering and the Dr. William M. Scholl College of Podiatric Medicine. His engineering background gives him a unique perspective treating your problem biomechanically or surgically and believes in doing what is best for your medical condition. If all options for treating your problem “biomechanically” are exhausted, he provides the same level of capability and experience with surgical solutions.
Dr. Douglas S. Hale

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