Ankle Equinus

This blog discusses a very common condition that Podiatrists will see every day, a condition that is a cause of other multiple ailments.


Ankle equinus can be defined as “A sagittal plane deformity in which there is less than 10 degrees of available dorsiflexion at the ankle joint when the subtalar joint is in its neutral position and the mid tarsal joint is fully locked.” (La Trobe 2002).

…………..In other words a stiff ankle joint!!!

Clinical Features

Persons suffering from ankle equinus often develop ways to compensate for their limited ankle movement which then often leads to other related foot, leg and back problems. The most common forms of compensation are flattening of the arch or early heel lift when walking which places increased pressure on the ball of the foot. Other less common forms of compensation include “toe walking” or taking steps by bending abnormally at the hip or knee.


There are two different causes of ankle equinus, osseous and muscular. Osseous (bony) is due to congenital morphology of the ankle joint. Whereas muscular is due to either a congenital shortage of the muscles (either gastrocnemius or soleus), or acquired shortage of these muscles, commonly caused by wearing high heeled shoes.

Spastic paralysis and cerebral palsy are also secondary muscular causes of ankle equinus.

Ankle equinus can be a contributing factor to other conditions such as Plantar Fasciitis, Achilles Tendinopathy, Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction, Severs Disease and Hallux Limitus.


Treatment options for ankle equinus depending on whether it is osseous or muscular are as follows-:

  • Orthoses to control excessive pronation.
  • Calf stretches and possible physiotherapy.
  • Heel lifts to reduce strain from the Achilles tendon.
  • Surgery


This has been written by Anuj Soni and is the opinion of the blogger and not necessarily The Footcare Centre LTD

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