If you or someone you know walks like a duck and has foot pain then we URGE you to watch this video on TARSAL COALITIONS in the foot.
A tarsal coalition is an abnormal connection of two or more bones in the foot. This can result in a severe, rigid flatfoot. It’s mainly an inherited genetic condition that is usually first identified in teenagers.
The coalition may be bony or fibrous. Above is an example of a bony coalition, courtesy of Dr Blitz (yep, that is his name… apparently).
People with tarsal coalitions may have foot pain. It may be at the back, arch, ankle or heel. Muscle spasms are commonly associated. The foot often presents flat and rigid and commonly the front of the foot turns out and the person walks ‘duck-like’.
While coalitions often present at birth, they often don’t manifest for dozens of years until the bones solidify.
Treatment is often surgical where the small bony or fibrous bridge is removed and soft tissue placed between the two bones to allow the joint to function better.
From our experience with teenagers, surgery is fairly simple and effective. It gets more complicated in adults who have gone undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as the coalitions are often bony and the body has been compensating for so long that there are often other secondary complications as well.
SO! The moral of the story is… if your teenager had a ‘duck-like’ gait and complains of sore feet, bring them along for an assessment to rule out a tarsal coalition!
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