Open reduction and internal fixation of OTA type C2-C4 fractures of the calcaneus with a triple-plate technique

Alexander Brunner, Jochen Müller, Pietro Regazzoni, Reto Babst
Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery 2012, 51 (3): 299-307
The purpose of this study was to present a surgical technique of open reduction and internal fixation of displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures with 3 AO mini-fragment plates and to evaluate the clinical and radiological outcome of a consecutive group of patients after a mean follow-up of 41.7 months. A series of 54 patients (16 women and 38 men) with 62 calcaneal fractures were treated over a period of 6.5 years. Forty-five patients with 50 calcaneal fractures were completely clinically and radiologically followed up. Clinical follow-up included assessment of range of motion, pain according to a visual analogue scale, the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society hindfoot score, and the short-form 36 health survey. Radiological follow-up included plain axial and lateral radiographs and measurement of the Böhler's angle and Gissane's angle. Independent Student's t test and paired Student's t test were used alongside the chi-square test to compare clinical and radiological data and score values between different groups of patients. Eleven patients showed breakage of the osteosynthesis material during the healing process and 2 patients sustained deep wound infection requiring revision surgery. At the final follow-up all fractures had healed. The average range of motion was supination 26.4° (range 0° to 50°; SD 11.6°), pronation 15.4° (range 0° to 30°; SD 6.4°), dorsal extension 14.3° (range -10° to 30°; SD 8.0°), and plantarflexion 39.6° (range 20° to 65°; SD 11.7°). Patients with OTA type C4 fractures achieved significantly lower supination (p < .01) and plantarflexion (p < .01) compared with other fracture types. The mean visual analog scale pain score was 3.6 (range 0 to 8; SD 2.3) points, average American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society hindfoot score was 70.8 (range 33 to 100; SD 17.1) points, and the mean short-form 36 score was 60.98 (range 22.9 to 93.0; SD 18.4) points. The mean postoperative Böhler's angle was 28.9° (range 8° to 38°; SD 7.1°), which decreased to 23.6° (range 4° to 34°; SD 8.7°) at the final follow-up, and the mean postoperative Gissane's angle was 108.6° (range 80° to 140°; SD 11.8°), which finally decreased to 102.4° (range 72° to 126°; SD 12.7°). No statistically significant differences regarding Böhler's and Gissane's angles were found between different OTA fracture types. In conclusion, the presented surgical technique was found to provide comparable and adequate reduction of OTA type C2-C4 injuries based on statistically insignificant differences in radiographic measures of postoperative fracture reduction. Greater limitation in subtalar motion was observed in OTA type C4 fractures in comparison with less severe fractures (p < .01).

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