Bilateral talipes equinovarus from Tikal, Guatemala. Academic Article uri icon


  • An incomplete skeleton recovered from a multiple, secondary burial at Tikal, Guatemala, shows malformed foot bones consistent with a diagnosis of bilateral idiopathic talipes equinovarus. Bones attributable to the skeleton include paired bowed fibulae, fragmentary calcanei, complete tali, naviculars, cuneiforms, metatarsals, and some phalanges. The tali are reduced in size, flattened, and hyperextended, with the tibia partially articulated on the calcaneus, posterior to the talus. The cuboid and cuneiforms show marked contraction of the inferior surfaces, and angulation. The metatarsals and phalanges present minor changes to the articulations, and slender shafts. Articulated, both feet show marked equinovarus deformity, with weight carried on the lateral margin and superior surface of the feet. Key conditions considered in the differential diagnosis are those producing an equinovarus or a calcaneocavovarus deformation, especially progressive neuromuscular disorders. This paper describes the nature of the bony changes, reconstructs the morphology of the feet, and offers a differential diagnosis. Scholars of the ancient Maya have identified artwork that appears to depict talipes equinovarus, although there was no osteological evidence for the condition among the Maya prior to the diagnosis of this case.

published proceedings

  • Int J Paleopathol

author list (cited authors)

  • Wright, L. E.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Wright, Lori E

publication date

  • January 2011