These pages offer advice only. They are not a substitute for a proper consultation.

The Subtalar Joint

As its name suggests, this joint lies under the talus and allows the calcaneum to twist inwards or outwards. The joint works closely with the 'mid-tarsal' joints. It is best to consider these 'triple' joints as working together, as any problems in one will affect the other two. Between them they allow the foot to adapt to sloping surfaces as we walk or run. The triple joints of those who spend most of their time walking along flat surfaces such as corridors or pavements will get little excercise. The continuous twisting of these joints on rough ground acts like a shock absorber for the other joints in the body. Because of this, disease and stiffness of the triple joints can lead to ankle, knee, and even back damage.

Location of the Subtalar Joint 

Sometimes a tendon (the Tibialis Posterior Tendon) on the inside of the hind foot can fail, allowing the arch of the foot to collapse and the heel to twist outwards. This is known as a flat foot. However, this DOES NOT refer to the mobile, pain-free flat foot that some people have had all their lives, with minimal or no problems. It is only when an initially normal foot changes shape and becomes flat and painful that it needs attention.

In rare instances, the muscles and tendons can become overactive, causing the arch of the foot to be pulled up and the heel to twist inwards. This is a high arched foot (pes cavus). Although some people have had this all their lives without any pain, others develop it during adolescence or adulthood. Pain may not be a feature at first, but this should not deter the person from seeking medical advice. Once again, it is the changing shape of the foot that is important to notice, and a medical opinion should be sought as sometimes this can be caused by a progressive problem in the muscles, nerves, spinal chord, or brain.

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