A problem I frequently treat in the office on a daily basis is one of equinus at the ankle joint. What is equinus you ask? Well, it is classically referred to as a decreased ability to move the ankle joint upward, or decreased ability to bring the top of the foot towards the leg. This can be caused by several factors but most commonly is tight posterior calf muscles or a bone that is restricting motion.
As we age unfortunately we naturally loose flexibility. If we are not active daily and incorporate some kind of stretching or flexibility training into our daily routine, muscles and tendons become tight over time. This can lead to a number of common foot and ankle ailments and has been directly linked to such problems as: Plantar fasciitis, painful calluses, pain in the ball of the foot, pain in the ankle, muscle cramping, tendinitis, shin splints, flat foot deformity, bunions and hammertoe deformities, even arthritis.
Evaluating equinus is simple and usually requires an exam by a foot and ankle specialist to find the problem. Often patients are unaware they have an equinus problem and come to the office seeking treatment for one of the other above mentioned issues.
After an evaluation for equinus, treatment usually consists of setting up a consistent daily routine for stretching and increasing flexibility. Other possible treatments may include: Night splints, orthotics or an arch support, heel pads, proper shoe gear and physical therapy. In some rare instances conservative treatments may fail or the deformity is caused by bone restricting motion. In these instances a small surgery may be required to fix the problem and help restore motion.
If you have noticed this problem with your own feet, please, come see us at Integrative Foot & Ankle Centers of Washington for an evaluation of your foot and ankle problems. Give us a call at (425) 678-3877 or visit our contact page to make an appointment online for any of our locations in Kirkland, Everett or Renton.