As Sacramento, CA podiatrists, we often talk about the importance of shoe choices for foot health. This is for good reason, since footwear plays a large role in not only preventing many common conditions, but also being part of patient treatment plans. This tends to be a bit more obvious when we discuss medical issues like bunions, ingrown toenails, and sports injuries, but shoe choices affect tarsal coalition as well.
Tarsal coalition might not be as well-known as other foot and ankle problems like sprained ankles or flatfoot, but it can lead to symptoms that include pain, leg fatigue, ankle stiffness, and muscle spasms. The condition is congenital (present at birth) and will not go away on its own. Actually, the only way to completely correct tarsal coalition is with surgery, but conservative care can often restrict the motion of an affected joint and relieve painful symptoms.
When a patient comes to see us and tarsal coalition is the problem, our treatment plan will contain nonsurgical elements like anti-inflammatory medication, orthotics, and activity modification. Another important element is comfortable, well-fitted shoes.
Symptoms can be managed, or even decreased, with the use of shoes that disperse force evenly over the foot. Even better are models that restrict the motion of the hindfoot. Limiting the motion can reduce the amount of localized forces that are applied to the joint near the back of the foot where the coalition is found. The type of shoes that can accomplish this is a pair that have stiff soles and a rocker-bottom contour (slight curve in the sole).
Conversely, we may advise patients against wearing high-heeled shoes. Even though pumps and stilettos may move pressure toward the front of the foot, they do not offer enough stability in the hindfoot area. This can exacerbate tarsal coalition symptoms and lead to additional foot and ankle issues.
For better or worse, shoe choices can affect tarsal coalition. Here at McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group, we can help you avoid footwear that will exacerbate existing issues and guide you towards models that offer greater comfort. Your first step towards relief from tarsal coalition pain and discomfort is a simple call to our Sacramento, CA office at (916) 961-3434. If you’d prefer, you can always schedule your appointment with us online.