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Static posture weightbearing joint angle differences in patients with varus ankle osteoarthritis.

Gait & Posture 2024 May 8
BACKGROUND: Advanced varus ankle osteoarthritis is a debilitating disease that can present with limited physical function, severe pain, and diminished quality of life. Weightbearing computed tomography enables submillimeter 3-dimensional visualization, computational analyses, and enhanced diagnoses in reporting complex degenerative changes more accurately.

RESEARCH QUESTION: This study set to compare static posture weightbearing joint angle differences in healthy and varus ankle osteoarthritis patients (compensated and non-compensated).

METHODS: Our retrospective assessment included 70 individuals, 44 of whom were diagnosed with advanced varus ankle osteoarthritis, and the remaining 26 were healthy participants to serve as controls. An automatic anatomic coordinate system was applied to each patient's 3-dimensional talus and calcaneus bone reconstructions from weightbearing computed tomography scans. Subtalar and midtarsal joint angles were calculated using Euler angles.

RESULTS: We report statistical differences between the healthy group and both advanced varus osteoarthritis groups for midtarsal inversion/eversion. Specifically, both osteoarthritis groups' midtarsal joints were more inverted and plantarflexed as compared to healthy participants. Compensated and non-compensated subtalar joints were statistically different with respect to inversion/eversion. Non-compensated ankles exhibited a similar mean to healthy ankles who were both less inverted than compensated ankles.

SIGNIFICANCE: Our study helps physicians to better understand underlying mechanisms of peritalar compensation in varus ankle osteoarthritis. Patients featuring hindfoot compensation on average had a greater subtalar joint angle indicating greater inversion than healthy and non-compensated patients.

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