Tarsal coalitions affect up to 13% of the population and can be a cause of chronic ankle and hindfoot pain. They can be subdivided as osseous, cartilaginous, or fibrous types, each with unique radiographic, CT, and MR imaging findings. In particular, MR imaging offers the unique ability to determine the exact type of tarsal coalition that is present as well as whether any associated soft tissue abnormalities are present.
The purposes of this paper were to (1) review the anatomy of the hindfoot; (2) review the radiographic, CT, and MR imaging findings of tarsal coalitions; and (3) review the imaging appearance of the specific types of tarsal coalitions.
Online searches were performed using Google Scholar with the search criteria of “tarsal coalition,” “hindfoot anatomy,” and “subtalar coalition,” and limiting the searches to papers published in the last 10 years in major radiology journals.
The anatomy of the hindfoot is complex but essential to understand. There are various radiographic, CT, and MR imaging findings that can be consistently noted in cases of tarsal coalition. The specific types of tarsal coalition demonstrate characteristic imaging findings.
Knowledge of the normal anatomy of the foot, in particular the hindfoot, combined with the knowledge of the imaging characteristics of different histologic subtypes of coalitions (osseous, cartilaginous, and fibrous) is essential for interpreting radiographic, CT, and MR images of the ankle and foot.
HSS Journal, an academic peer-reviewed journal published three times a year, February, July and October. The Journal accepts and publishes peer reviewed articles from around the world that contribute to the advancement of the knowledge of musculoskeletal diseases and disorders.