JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW
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Tendon transfer in foot drop: a systematic review.

INTRODUCTION: Foot drop is a disorder that impairs walking and leads to tripping and falling. Tendon transfer (e.g., tibialis posterior tendon) is a typical secondary procedure in foot drop treatment. The purpose of this systematic review was to identify the most common tendon transfer techniques for treating foot drop and to analyze the reported functional outcomes. Furthermore, it was of interest if the type of surgical technique affects the functional outcome.

METHODS: A PubMed and MEDLINE literature search was performed according to PRISMA guidelines. The search terms used were ("tendon transfer" OR "tendon transposition") AND ("foot drop" OR "peroneal neuropathies"). Any study published before January 2020 was considered for inclusion. No case reports or reviews were included. Common outcome measures (Stanmore score, AOFAS, FAAM, AFO use, patient satisfaction and active ankle dorsiflexion) were evaluated. The quality of the included studies was assessed using the Coleman Methodology Score.

RESULTS: Of the 125 reviewed publications, 37 met the inclusion criteria. 42 cohorts were analyzed. The frequently reported tendon transfer technique was the tibialis posterior tendon transfer through the interosseus membrane. The most used fixation technique was tendon on tendon fixation; however in recent years, a tendon to bone fixation has gained popularity. There was an increase in Stanmore scores and AOFAS postoperatively and a decrease of AFO use postoperatively observed.

CONCLUSIONS: Due to various outcome measures and lack of preoperative assessment in the included studies, a meta-analysis of the pooled results was not possible. Nevertheless, the findings of this study show that tendon transfer increases mobility and self-independency leading to patient satisfaction. The choice of the surgical technique does not affect the outcome. A prospective collection of patient data and standardized outcome measures will be important to further analyze the efficacy of tendon transfer techniques.

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