person with stiff ankle equinus

Simply put, equinus is a condition where the ankle joint is unable to bend upward. An individual dealing with equinus has little to no flexibility in the area and will be unable to bring the top of the foot toward the front of the leg.

Equinus can occur in either or both feet, and the range of motion can vary in severity. One of the main issues of equinus is that people who have it often develop ways to compensate for the limited range of motion, which can lead to other foot problems. Harmful compensation habits may include flattening the foot arch or picking up the heel too early while walking, putting increased pressure on the ball of the foot, or “toe walking.”

What Causes Equinus?

Equinus may develop for several reasons. The most common is tightness in the Achilles tendon or calf muscles. This is usually a congenital or inherited trait. Other causes of equinus include:

  • Being in a cast
  • Using crutches for an extended period
  • Frequently wearing high heels
  • Diabetes
  • Spasms in the calf muscle
  • One leg is shorter than the other
  • Fragment of a broken bone blocking and restricting motion

Problems Associated With Equinus

Oftentimes, equinus isn’t the biggest issue. Instead, it’s the injuries and conditions that come as a result that causes people to suffer. Some foot problems that can develop due to compensation include:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Calf cramps
  • Tendonitis
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Flat feet
  • Midfoot arthritis
  • Sores from pressure on the ball or arch of the foot
  • Bunions
  • Hammertoes
  • Ankle pain
  • Shin splints

How a Podiatrist Can Help

If you live in South Carolina or near Charlotte, NC, you can visit one of our podiatry offices for help with equinus and its related struggles. Our first step would be to make an accurate diagnosis. Many equinus sufferers don’t even know they have the condition in the first place. Then, you can work with our doctor to find a treatment plan that works for you. There are many non-surgical options, including:

  • Night splints
  • Heel lifts
  • Orthotic devices
  • Physical therapy

Sometimes surgery is needed, but this is usually decided only after all other options have failed.

At InStride Carolina Podiatry Group, our podiatrists have experience working with equinus patients and care about providing you with care tailored to your unique situation. Give us a call at 803-285-1411 or visit our website for a complete list of locations and to schedule an appointment online.