The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Kelly Ripa’s Foot Fracture Reveals Genetic Foot Condition

Posted by on Wednesday, August 19th, 2015


Unlike many of the people we write about, Kelly Ripa is not known as an athlete. She’s best known for starring in soap opera All My Children from 1990-2002 and co-hosting the syndicated morning talk show Live! With Kelly and Michael. But like all of us, Kelly enjoys a rich extracurricular life outside of work that involves physical activities to keep her fit. Dance classes are one of her passions, but the tricky thing about this sport is that one false step while dancing can be immobilizing — as Kelly found out the hard way!

foot fracture
Dancing can be hard on the feet, as Kelly Ripa learned the hard way! Image source: Flickr CC user Marco

What Happened to Kelly Ripa’s Foot?

Kelly showed up to set on Thursday, July 30th wearing a medical boot and wielding crutches. She was hoping nobody would notice her new fashion accessory, but agreed to talk about her injury on live television when co-host Michael Strahan called her out on it.1 She explained that she was at her normal dance class and somebody had left a weight out on the dance room floor.

“All I know is I did a jump,” she recalled, “and in my mind, I am an incredible dancer, graceful as can be — and I landed on the weight, and my foot went over and under the weight.” She added that the sound of her foot breaking was “like bubble wrap.” She felt queasy as she crawled out of the room to the hospital. As her husband Mark Consuelos took video of her coming up the lift in a wheelchair, she explained, “It’s very dramatic looking, but I feel fine.”

Four little bones broke in the misstep, but thankfully, doctors said she won’t need surgery for the foot fracture. They recommended that she begin bearing some weight in a few days, but stay in a medical boot for six weeks. Ripa estimated she could “give it three weeks,” but doubted her ability to stick with the doctors’ orders for the full six.

We’re disappointed to hear that, but patient compliance is often an uphill battle. Patients don’t usually like the look of a medical boot and generally start feeling better a few weeks after a fracture, so they presume they can go about business as usual. That is, until the chronic pain sets in. If you find yourself in a medical boot, find a design you can live with and prepare yourself to take it easy for several weeks beyond the point that you start feeling better. Progressing too fast without recovering fully sets you up for residual pain, delayed healing, and arthritis later on down the road.

While having her foot imaged, Kelly was surprised to learn that she was born with something called calcaneonavicular coalition — which she said “sounds like a war strategy.” Here at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC, we have treated similar patients with this inherited genetic condition as well.

What Is a Calcaneonavicular Coalition?

Typically, in utero, the hindfoot bones — the talus, calcaneus, and navicular — separate in the early part of pregnancy as the embryo is developing. A person with a tarsal coalition does not have this separation, but instead, has bones that are held together by flexible fibrous tissue, cartilage, or a hard bone bridge. Specifically, with the calcaneonavicular coalition, the front part of the calcaneus is attached to the outer and lower navicular.

It is estimated that one in 100 people are born with a tarsal coalition. Sometimes people do not notice any difficulty doing the activities they love and have no pain whatsoever, so treatment is not required. In other cases, this abnormality manifests as foot pain, arthritis, or flatfoot. Often, as in Kelly’s story, patients find out about a tarsal coalition when they are scanned for an injury and it is believed the presence of the coalition made them more prone to injury because the foot lacked full range of motion. Shoe modification, custom orthotics, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medication are often recommended as a first-line treatment to make the foot more comfortable, but some people may opt for surgery if the level of dysfunction, deformity, and arthritis pain is too great.2

Treatment for Foot Fractures & Tarsal Coalitions in NYC

The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in Manhattan and Westchester offer you a full suite of diagnostic tools, a complete physical therapy program, and access to board-certified podiatrists, experienced podiatric surgeons, and skilled sports medicine doctors who can evaluate your injury and successfully see you through rehabilitation. Contact us for the treatment of acute or chronic foot injury.


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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.