Causes and cures of tarsal fractures

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Tarsal fractures
Tarsal fractures

Tarsal bones are small bones that are present between the talus, calcaneus and metatarsal bones and make a part of the mid foot. These also play an important role in the transfer of the weight to the mid and front foot from the navicular bone. The fractures of the tarsal bones can bring a lot of pain and discomfort as movements of foot will be hindered and it will hurt of walking. There fractures of tarsal bones, however, are rare as they are hidden among the large and prominent bones like calcaneus and talus. But these may occur due to a repetitive stress, sudden trauma of mid foot or a heavy strain. The management strategy is almost same as with the fractures of other foot bones, i.e. placing the broken parts together and limiting foot movement allowing the healing to proceed. The healing is usually rapid as these bones don’t face any prominent muscles stretch or any other pulling force. Following are causes and treating methods to get rid of this agony.

Causes of Tarsal fractures:

The main causes of tarsal fractures are:

  • Direct blow to the mid foot area such as fall of a heavy object on the mid foot causes the tarsal to break away.
  • The excessive inversion of the foot may also cause tarsal fractures along with fractures of some other bones too. Example is falling from a height and foot touching the ground first.
  • Crushing of foot, like running over by a vehicle also results in tarsal fractures.
  • Excessive physical activities like running on a hard surface for longer time can also damage the tarsal bones.

Symptoms of Tarsal Fractures:

The major signs and symptoms of the fractures of tarsal bones are:

  • The cramping or severe dull pain in the mid foot
  • Immobility
  • Abnormal gait
  • Swelling
  • Redness of overlying skin
  • Tenderness of affected part
  • Worsening of pain on walking


You must report to a doctor as early as you encounter such painful problem. He will inquire about the recent physical activities and will perform a complete general physical examination of the foot. If the signs of the fracture are there, the diagnostic imaging modalities like X-rays are used to confirm the diagnosis. If x-rays don’t reveal the minor fractures of tarsal bones in some cases, advanced techniques like MRI (magnetic imaging resonance) is also used in some cases.

Treatment of the Tarsal bone fractures:

The treatment usually required to get over this problem is conventional and does not requires surgical process in most cases. However, in some very severe and complex cases, surgery is also required.

The foot rest is the basic thing to let the bones remain together to join again. If foot is moved, bones parts may move apart again and cause a lot of pain and healing time is also prolonged. Casting is used to prevent the mobility. Anti0inflammatort and painkillers are used for immediate relief. If fracture does not get corrected after a couple of weeks, surgery is performed and ones are joined by screws or wires.

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