Skeletal Radiology

, Volume 45, Issue 11, pp 1507–1514 | Cite as

Tarsal tunnel disease and talocalcaneal coalition: MRI features

  • Erin FitzGerald AlaiaEmail author
  • Zehava Sadka Rosenberg
  • Jenny T. Bencardino
  • Gina A. Ciavarra
  • Ignacio Rossi
  • Catherine N. Petchprapa
Scientific Article



To assess, utilizing MRI, tarsal tunnel disease in patients with talocalcaneal coalitions. To the best of our knowledge, this has only anecdotally been described before.

Materials and methods

Sixty-seven ankle MRIs with talocalcaneal coalition were retrospectively reviewed for disease of tendons and nerves of the tarsal tunnel. Interobserver variability in diagnosing tendon disease was performed in 30 of the 67 cases. Tarsal tunnel nerves were also evaluated in a control group of 20 consecutive ankle MRIs.


Entrapment of the flexor hallucis longus tendon (FHL) by osseous excrescences was seen in 14 of 67 cases (21 %). Attenuation, split tearing, tenosynovitis, or tendinosis of the FHL was present in 26 cases (39 %). Attenuation or tenosynovitis was seen in the flexor digitorum longus tendon (FDL) in 18 cases (27 %). Tenosynovitis or split tearing of the posterior tibial tendon (PT) was present in nine cases (13 %). Interobserver variability ranged from 100 % to slight depending on the tendon and type of disease. Intense increased signal and caliber of the medial plantar nerve (MPN), indicative of neuritis, was seen in 6 of the 67 cases (9 %). Mildly increased T2 signal of the MPN was seen in 15 (22 %) and in 14 (70 %) of the control group.


Talocalcaneal coalitions may be associated with tarsal tunnel soft tissue abnormalities affecting, in decreasing order, the FHL, FDL, and PT tendons, as well as the MPN. This information should be provided to the referring physician in order to guide treatment and improve post-surgical outcome.


Talocalcaneal coalition Tarsal tunnel disease Ankle MR imaging 



We would like to thank Elizabeth Carpenter, MD, for contributing to data collection for our study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© ISS 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erin FitzGerald Alaia
    • 1
    Email author
  • Zehava Sadka Rosenberg
    • 1
  • Jenny T. Bencardino
    • 1
  • Gina A. Ciavarra
    • 1
  • Ignacio Rossi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Catherine N. Petchprapa
    • 1
  1. 1.New York University Langone Medical CenterNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Centro de Diagnóstico Dr. Enrique RossiBuenos AiresArgentina

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