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McDowell Podiatry
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Physical Activities and Tarsal Coalition

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Foot anatomyLiving in the greater Sacramento, CA community means having many activity options at your disposal. You can explore the past via the Old Sacramento Underground Tour, have fun at the California State Fair with friends and family, visit the animals at Effie Yeaw Nature Center, museum hop (from The California Museum to Discovery Museum Science & Space Center to the California State Railroad Museum to California Automobile Museum), and so much more!

It is certainly easy to stay active in our community, but physical activities—even spending a day walking around visiting local attractions—can take their toll if you have a foot problem. Let’s do some exploring to see how physical activity affects tarsal coalition.

As a starting point, we’ll begin by explaining the condition. Tarsal coalition occurs when two or more bones in the hindfoot have become connected by cartilage, bone, or other fibrous tissue. It is congenital (present at birth), but will usually not start causing issues until around ages 9 to 16. At that point, there may be pain, muscles spasms, stiffness in the foot or ankle, and leg fatigue.

These symptoms, particularly pain and leg fatigue, are often exacerbated by physical activity. Even a day spent walking around and appreciating the river birch trees on the banks of the McKinley Park pond can result in tired, pained legs. Additionally, when the coalition leads to rigid flatfoot, you might be at risk for recurrent ankle sprains because of the resulting biomechanical abnormality during the gait cycle.

Not all physical activities affect tarsal coalition in a negative manner, however. As a matter of fact, physical therapy (including range-of-motion exercises) is part of an effective treatment plan for some patients.

If you are experiencing pain in the hindfoot, even while only standing or walking, there is a chance that tarsal coalition is to blame. Come see our expert foot doctors here at McDowell Podiatry Group and we can provide an accurate diagnosis before creating a treatment plan that works for you. Call our Carmichael, CA office at (916) 961-3434 for additional information or to schedule an appointment (which you can also do via our online form).

Dr. Brian McDowell
Dr. Brian McDowell, board-certified podiatrist, provides cutting-edge foot and ankle care in Carmichael, CA.
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