PURPOSE: While intra-articular steroid injection has been used anecdotally in patients with symptomatic talocalcaneal coalitions recalcitrant to traditional conservative modalities, the ability of this treatment to provide symptomatic relief and obviate or delay surgical intervention remains unknown. The purpose of this study is, therefore, to assess the treatment efficacy of intra-articular subtalar steroid injection in children with symptomatic talocalcaneal coalitions. METHODS: A retrospective study of all patients with isolated subtalar coalitions was performed at a single pediatric orthopaedic institution over a 30-year period. Radiographs were analyzed to identify the type of coalition (osseous or nonosseous), presence of any posterior facet involvement, and presence of a planovalgus foot deformity. Patients who underwent a subtalar joint steroid injection after failing other conservative treatments were identified and compared with those who did not receive an injection as part of their nonoperative management with regard to the need for ultimate surgical intervention and the time from presentation to surgery when applicable. RESULTS: A total of 83 patients (125 feet) met inclusion criteria, of whom 25 patients (34 feet) received a subtalar steroid injection. When compared with the 58 patients (91 feet) treated with standard nonoperative modalities, there were no differences with regard to sex, age at presentation (12.4 and 12.3 y, respectively), facet involvement, type of coalition, or the presence of a planovalgus deformity. In all, 12/34 (35%) feet in the injection group eventually elected surgical intervention compared with 36/91 (39%) feet that did not receive an injection (P=0.72). For those patients ultimately selecting surgical intervention, the average time from initial presentation to surgery was 878 days in the injection group versus 211 days in the noninjection group (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: While subtalar steroid injection can alleviate symptoms in some patients with a talocalcaneal coalition, this intervention does not appear to decrease the need for surgery when compared with traditional nonoperative therapies. In patients failing other forms of conservative treatment, subtalar steroid injections can delay surgical intervention by an average of nearly 2 years. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level-III-therapeutic study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine