It is spring time and that means almost summer! Everyone is starting to get back outside and get more active again. One common problem that many of us discover is that we have leg or foot pain when we try to get back to activities outdoors. This often can be attributed to a condition called ankle equinus. Ankle equinus is defined as the inability to bend the ankle upward (towards the leg). This can happen in one leg or both. When equinus is present though, it can be a big factor contributing to muscle and biomechanical imbalance and many common foot and ankle ailments such as:
- Plantar fasciitis (arch/heel pain)
- Calf cramping
- Tendonitis (inflammation in the Achilles tendon)
- Metatarsalgia (pain and/or callusing on the ball of the foot)
- Arthritis of the midfoot (middle area of the foot)
- Pressure sores on the ball of the foot
- Bunions and hammertoes
- Ankle pain
- Shin splints
The cause of ankle equinus can be either a bone problem or more frequently a muscle problem. When the calf muscles are too tight they dont allow the ankle to flex normally. This commonly can be a condition acquired over months or years of inactivity, wearing high healed shoes or possibly a congenital problem (from birth). When equinus is present though you can be sure that foot or ankle pain often follows.
Fortunately most treatments are conservative in nature and include :
- Daily consistent stretching routine
- Night splint
- Orthotics/Arch supports
- Heel lifts
- Physical therapy
Conservative treatment usually is effective at treating the problem and getting you back to your normal lifestyle, but it takes time and dedication to a treatment plan. On rare occations if conservative treatment has proven to be ineffective then surgery is an option. Your foot and ankle specialist will, after proper clinical evaluation and x-rays, determine which procedure is most appropriate if needed.
I would strongly urge you to adopt a daily stretching routine if you havint already. I also would recommend that if you are having problems related to equinus or other foot and ankle conditions, dont wait for treatment. Often times promt treatment can save you allot of problems and headaches down the road. If you are suffering from equinus or foot and ankle pain, contact the podiatrists at Integrative Foot & Ankle Centers of Washington. With offices in Kirkland, Everett, and Renton, our doctors will be able to see you in a timely fashion to get you the help and expertise that you need. Give us a call to set up your appointment.