Operative treatment of the difficult stage 2 adult acquired flatfoot deformity

S Mosier-LaClair, G Pomeroy, A Manoli
Foot and Ankle Clinics 2001, 6 (1): 95-119
In the flexible pes planovalgus deformity of stage 2 posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, osteotomies appear to have a significant role in operative management by restoring more normal biomechanics, allowing tendon transfers to function successfully. The options when considering osteotomies for stage 2 disease include lateral column lengthening, medial displacement calcaneal osteotomy, and combined double osteotomy technique. The tight Achilles tendon should be lengthened as well. Lateral column lengthening has been used extensively for treatment of flexible flatfeet. It has been shown clinically and radiographically to address all 3 components of the pes planovalgus deformity present in stage 2 posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. Lateral column lengthening is used in combination with a medial soft tissue rebalancing procedure. The mechanism of action is still speculative but clearly is not owing to tensioning of the plantar fascia as previously thought. Despite the excellent correction of foot posture obtained by use of lateral column lengthening for adult acquired flatfoot, many clinicians have reservations about its use because of reported secondary increases in the calcaneocuboid joint pressures. This increase in pressure has been shown to occur experimentally, increasing the potential risk of calcaneocuboid joint arthrosis. This experimental evidence is supported by Phillips' study of the original Evans procedure, which resulted in a 65% incidence of calcaneocuboid joint arthrosis at 13-year follow-up. Mosier-LaClair et al reported a 14% incidence of calcaneocuboid joint arthritis at 5-year follow-up after double osteotomy for stage 2 posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. This incidence has not been proved true in the remainder of the literature surrounding this procedure and its use for flexible flatfoot. To address the concern regarding potential calcaneocuboid arthrosis secondary to lateral column lengthening, calcaneocuboid joint distraction arthrodesis has been explored as an alternative technique. The results show good initial correction, but the follow-up is extremely limited, and one study reported loss of correction over time. Longer follow-up is needed to determine whether or not this technique would provide the lasting correction seen with the Evans procedure. Calcaneocuboid joint lengthening arthrodesis does result in some limitation of adjacent hindfoot motion. Although this limitation is significantly less compared with talonavicular and subtalar joint fusion, this procedure may result in increased local pressures and arthrosis of the midfoot or hindfoot. For the above-mentioned reasons, longer follow-up studies are needed to determine whether calcaneocuboid joint distraction arthrodesis would prove to be a reliable and safe alternative for lateral column lengthening in the treatment of adult acquired flatfoot. Medial displacement calcaneal osteotomy has been used for correction of the pes planovalgus foot in posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. It has been used extensively for the surgical treatment of flexible flatfoot throughout the literature. Medial displacement osteotomy, in combination with flexor digitorum longus tendon transfer, can address all 3 components of adult acquired flatfoot. It does not recreate the medial longitudinal arch in all patients, however. Although the mechanism of action of medial displacement calcaneal osteotomy is unknown, it has been proved that it is not through the tightening of the plantar fascia in a windlass effect as previously thought. In contrast to lateral column lengthening, however, medial displacement calcaneal osteotomy does address the deforming valgus force of the Achilles tendon. Functionally transferring the insertion of the Achilles tendon medially removes a constant valgus-deforming force. The osteotomy can then act as a double tendon transfer with the flexor digitorum longus tendon to aid in foot inversion. For stage 2 posterior tibial tendon insufficiency, the authors favor the combination double osteotomy technique with a flexor digitorum longus tendon-to-medial cuneiform tendon transfer, débridement or removal of the posterior tibial tendon, and percutaneous heel cord lengthening. Early results were positive at 1.5 years after surgery with respect to maintenance of correction and functional improvement with no evidence of calcaneocuboid arthrosis. More recently, the intermediate 5-year follow-up has been assessed for this combination of procedures, and similar results were found. There was a high rate of patient satisfaction and functional improvement, and surgical correction of the flatfoot deformity was maintained and compared favorably with the contralateral normal foot. Although the intermediate follow-up found a 14% incidence of calcaneocuboid arthrosis, 50% of these patients had preoperative evidence of calcaneocuboid joint arthritis. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED)

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