Radiologic changes of ankle joint after total knee arthroplasty

Jung Hee Lee, Bi O Jeong
Foot & Ankle International 2012, 33 (12): 1087-92

BACKGROUND: The authors noticed that ankle joint osteoarthritis was not uncommon when lower extremity malalignment, such as a knee varus deformity, was present as a result of severe osteoarthritis of the knee. The purpose of this study was to analyze radiologic changes of the ankle joint after total knee arthroplasty.

METHODS: This study included 142 cases in 110 patients who underwent total knee arthroplasty and were followed for at least 3 years. The varus knee group included 128 cases and the valgus knee group included 14 cases. On anteroposterior standing lower extremity radiographs, varus and valgus angles of the knee were measured preoperatively and at the last follow-up. The angle between the ground surface and the distal tibial plafond as well as the upper talus was also measured. In addition, tibial anterior surface angle, talar tilt, space between the medial malleolar distal tip and the medial articular surface of the talus, and medial tibiotalar joint space of the ankle joint were measured.

RESULTS: Out of 142 cases, 50 (35.2%) had arthritis in the ankle before total knee arthroplasty and 31 (21.8%) had newly developed or progressive arthritis after surgery. In particular, the varus knee group demonstrated statistically significant differences in preoperative varus deformity, preoperative talar tilt, and postoperative correction angle between the cases that developed or had progressive arthritis and those that did not show any changes (p < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: After total knee arthroplasty, arthritis developed or progressed in the ankle of many cases radiographically. In particular, when the preoperative talar tilt increased medial to the ankle or the postoperative correction angle was large, the incidence of arthritis in the ankle joint increased. The authors recommend more cautious follow-up on the symptoms of the ankle joint after total knee arthroplasty.

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