The latest medical research on Foot & Ankle Orthopaedics

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Diagnostic Value of Lateral Ankle Radiography in Achilles Tendon Rupture.

Foot and Ankle International

Achilles tendon rupture (ATR) is a common sports injury, but approximately 20% of acute ATR cases are misdiagnosed as ankle sprains at first presentation. This study aimed to investigate the diagnostic value of lateral ankle radiography in the diagnosis of acute ATR.

This was a retrospective case-control study in which the lateral ankle radiographs of patients who presented to the emergency department between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2019 were examined. The study included a total of 154 patients with acute ATR, who underwent lateral ankle radiography at the presentation and were surgically or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) confirmed to have ATR in our hospital. The lateral ankle radiographs of the patients were examined by 2 clinicians blinded to clinical data for the following 3 findings: Kager's fat pad sign, tibio-first metatarsal angle, and tibiocalcaneal angle. The same procedure was repeated for 308 controls who underwent lateral ankle radiography and were diagnosed with ankle sprain.

Kager's fat pad sign was detected in 133 (86.4%) of the 154 patients with ATR and 26 (8.4%) of the 308 patients in the control group. The Kager's fat pad sign, tibio-first metatarsal angle, and tibiocalcaneal angle sensitivity values for the diagnosis of ATR were 86.4%, 61.7%, and 65.6%, respectively, and their specificity values were 91.6%, 78.9%, and 56.2%, respectively. Interobserver reliability was determined to be good for all 3 radiographic findings.

Clinicians should be particularly aware of Kager's fat pad sign when examining lateral ankle radiographs for ankle injury.

Level IV: Case control study.

Incidental Finding of Plantar Plate Pathology on Routine Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Foot and Ankle.

Foot and Ankle International

We hypothesized that there would be a comparable and high incidence of an incidental torn plantar plate on routine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in asymptomatic patients.

We included adult patients undergoing a foot MRI from 2019 to 2020. Based on the documented reason for MRI, patients were divided into symptomatic and asymptomatic. A separate musculoskeletal radiologist re-evaluated MRI images. Findings were categorized as "torn vs intact." We also used the anatomical grading system (AGS).

We reviewed 218 records, including 165 asymptomatic and 53 symptomatic patients. The chance of finding a plantar plate (PP) tear on MRI of symptomatic patients was 28% (21% in PP2, 5.7% in PP3, 5.7% in PP4, and 2% in PP5), while PP tear in asymptomatic patients was only apparent in 2% of MRIs (1.5% in PP2, 0 in PP3, 0 in PP4, and 0.6% in PP5). Cohen's kappa coefficient was 0.92, showing excellent agreement between the radiologists. Odds calculation revealed that the chance of finding a torn PP in an asymptomatic patient is 2.5%. In comparison, the chance of finding an intact PP in a symptomatic patient is 72%, showing 2.5 times more likely to find an intact PP than a torn PP in symptomatic individuals.

Interestingly, there was a low rate of abnormal PP appearance on MRI in both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients, which suggests that the chance of finding a false-positive PP tear in an asymptomatic patient is minimal and probably negligible.

Level IV diagnostic.

Two Orthogonal Nitinol Staples and Combined Nitinol Staple-Screw Constructs for a First Metatarsophalangeal Joint Arthrodesis: A Biomechanical Cadaver Study.

Foot and Ankle International

End-stage hallux metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint arthritis is commonly treated with arthrodesis using stainless steel or titanium implants. These implants provide static compression that is maximal at the time of implant insertion. Alternatively, nitinol staples are capable of dynamic compression. They have most frequently been used for midfoot arthrodesis procedures. However, their biomechanical performance during hallux MTP arthrodesis has not been described.

8 matched pairs of cadaveric feet (4 female, 4 male) were prepared for hallux MTP arthrodesis using cup and cone reamers. Cadaveric pairs were then instrumented with either (1) a transarticular lag screw and dorsal nitinol staple or (2) orthogonal nitinol staples placed dorsally and medially. Walking in a short leg cast for 6 weeks was simulated by applying 90-N forces at 3 Hz to the plantar proximal phalanx for up to 250 000 cycles. Failure was defined as catastrophic implant failure or plantar gapping beyond 7 mm.

15 of 16 specimens failed cyclic loading. All 8 specimens fixed with orthogonal staples failed at an average of 37 ± 81 cycles. 7 of 8 specimens fixed with a dorsal staple and crossed screw failed at 14 900 ± 39 000 cycles. Collectively, 5 specimens failed because of bone fracture (1 in orthogonal staples, 4 in staple-screw group) and 10 failed because of excessive gap formation (7 in orthogonal staples, 3 in staple-screw group). The number of cycles to failure was significantly lower (P = .0469) in the orthogonal staple constructs compared with the dorsal staple and crossed screw constructs.

The tested constructs permit significant motion at the first MTP fusion surface during simulated protected weightbearing. Although multiple in vivo factors should be considered when extrapolating results from this cadaveric study, this motion may result in clinical failure with early postoperative weightbearing protocols.

We report the first biomechanical evaluation of hallux MTP arthrodesis using modern nitinol staples in 2 separate constructs.

Comparing Rates of Fusion and Time to Fusion in Viable Cellular Allograft and Autograft.

Foot and Ankle International

Autograft or allograft frequently are used to enhance bone union in foot and ankle surgery. Viable cellular bone allograft uses viable cells and bone scaffolding in a gel base, but uncertainty remains around allograft's greater efficacy than autograft regarding rates of fusion (ROF) and time to fusion (TTF).

Autograft, viable cellular allograft, and viable cellular allograft with autograft were compared in 199 forefoot, midfoot, and hindfoot arthrodeses performed over a 6-year period. Data collected from electronic medical records and radiographs were analyzed to determine ROF and TTF as well as rates of revision surgery for delayed or nonunion and compared among groups.

Eighty-seven patients comprised the autograft group, 81 the allograft group, and 31 the combined group. No significant differences were noted in patient demographics among the groups. No statistically significant differences in ROF were noted among the 3 groups, with 86% (75 of 87) fusion in the autograft group, 93% (75 of 81) in the allograft group, and 84% (26 of 31) in the combined group (P = .20). After conducting a multivariate analysis, we found no statistically significant difference for allograft or combined graft on TTF (P = .1379 and .2311, respectively). No significant difference was found in rate of revision surgery for nonunion, which was 1.2% (1 of 81) in the allograft group, 3.4% (3 of 87) in the autograft group, and 6.5% (2 of 31) in the combined group (P = .3).

No significant difference was found in ROF, TTF, or rate of revision surgery when comparing viable cellular allograft to autograft or combined allograft-autograft. Viable cellular allograft may be a reasonable alternative to the gold standard of autograft and should be considered an option in patients undergoing arthrodesis in foot and ankle surgery.

Level III, therapeutic.

Clinical and Radiographic Outcomes of Percutaneous Third-Generation Double First Metatarsal Osteotomy Combined With Closing-Wedge Proximal Phalangeal Osteotomy for Moderate and Severe Hallux Valgus.

Foot and Ankle International

The treatment for severe hallux valgus deformity presents a challenge with high risk of complications. Third generation MIS techniques have increased their publications in recent years. The aim was to compare clinical and radiologic outcomes in moderate and severe cases and report minor and major complications.

Retrospective series of cases with prospective data collection of 156 consecutive feet that underwent percutaneous double first metatarsal osteotomy (PEDO) and first phalanx osteotomy between 2008 and 2019 for moderate (hallux valgus angle [HVA] between ≥20 and <40 degrees and/or intermetatarsal angle [IMA] <16 degrees) and severe (HVA ≥40 degrees and/or IMA ≥16 degrees) hallux valgus deformities. Primary outcomes included radiographic and clinical parameters. Secondary outcomes included minor and major complications.

A total of 156 procedures were performed in 128 patients. Mean age was 54.3 years (SD 14.3) (range, 19-82 years), median follow-up was 22.6 months (range, 12-96 months). Radiographic changes pre- to postoperation were as follows: HVA changed from 38.2 (SD 10.1) degrees to 11.2 (SD 8.3) degrees (P < .001), IMA from 14.7 (SD 3.2) degrees to 7.9 (SD 3.7) degrees (P < .001), and distal articular metatarsal angle from 19.7 (SD 6.3) degrees to 8.8 (SD 5.7) degrees (P < .001) after PEDO technique. Clinical changes pre- to postoperation were as follows: American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society ankle-hindfoot scale scores improved from 47.3 (SD 16.5) to 87 (SD 11.6) (P < .001) and visual analog scale scores from 5 (2.7) to 0.9 (1.3) (P < .001). The satisfaction rate was 97% in the total sample. Recurrence rate (HVA ≥20 degrees) was 7.7%. Hallux varus (HVA <0 degrees) occurred in 5.8%, acute osteomyelitis in 1.3%, partial avascular necrosis in 0.6%, screw removal in 0.6%, and reoperation in 1.9%. No nonunion was observed.

Clinical and radiographic parameters improved significantly, with a minimum of 12 months of follow-up in moderate and severe hallux valgus. Long experience in percutaneous surgery and specific instruments are needed for this technique. Recurrence was linked to preoperative HVA ≥40 degrees and postoperative tibial sesamoid position; Hallux varus was linked to lateral soft tissue release.

Level IV, case series.

Distal Fibula Fractures-Intramedullary Fixation Versus Plating: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Control Trials.

Foot and Ankle International

The aim of the present study is to compare the functional scores and complications of intramedullary fixation versus plate osteosynthesis of distal fibular fractures in adults.

Study was performed in accordance with Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-Analyses format from MEDLINE, Embase, Ovid, and Cochrane databases. The included articles were assessed according to the risk of bias assessment tool by Cochrane collaboration.

A total of 5 randomized control trials were included for quantitative review. Random sequence generation and allocation concealment of the study subjects were the strengths of all the included studies. There was high heterogeneity among the included studies (I2 > 75%). There was no significant difference between the Olerud-Molander scores in both the groups but the trend favored the intramedullary nailing of distal fibula (mean difference of 3.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] of 8.90). Complications were significantly lesser in the intramedullary group across the studies (odds ratio 0.26, 95% CI of 0.81).

Intramedullary nailing of fibula with the use of modern locking fibular nails is an alternative to fibular plating for unstable distal fibular fractures in properly selected cases. There remains the need for standardizing the method of operative treatment of distal fibular fractures which can be done by a well-planned large-scale prospective study design.

Level 1.

Intermediate to Long-Term Follow-up of the Salto Talaris Fixed-Bearing Total Ankle Prosthesis.

Foot and Ankle International

Total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) remains a viable option for recalcitrant, end-stage ankle arthritis. Among the various Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved prosthetic options is the fixed-bearing Salto Talaris implant. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the intermediate to long-term clinical outcomes and radiographic complications following implantation of the Salto Talaris TAA.

Nineteen Salto Talaris total ankle implants were included in the present retrospective study. Medical records were reviewed to determine pre- and postoperative visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores, and both medical records and radiographs were utilized to assess for complications. Telephone interviews were then conducted to assess for overall patient satisfaction.

At a mean follow of 6.9 years (range, 3.5-12 years), there was a 21% complication rate according to the classification system described by Glazebrook et al. The reoperation rate was low at 10.5%, and there was 100% survivorship of the total ankle implant. The average pain decreased from 9.1 (range, 7-10) preoperatively to 2.6 (range, 0-10) postoperatively. Patients reported a 95% satisfaction rate, and 16% of patients reported using a brace postoperatively.

The Salto Talaris arthroplasty was associated with low complication and reoperation rates, and a high survivorship at intermediate to long-term follow-up.


Direct Plantar Approach to Plantar Plate Repair and Associated Wound Complications.

Foot and Ankle International

Lesser toe metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) instability, secondary to plantar plate tear, has been the focus of numerous recent publications, the majority reporting on repair through a dorsal approach. A plantar approach has been described with the advantage of direct ligamentous repair or repair to bone, which follows conventional techniques employed throughout the body. Previous clinical studies have shown success in deformity correction and the longevity of both approaches. The proponents of the dorsal approach advocate that indirect repair of the plantar plate avoids perceived risks of complications with a plantar incision without evidence of superior outcomes. The purpose of this study was to investigate the safety and efficacy of the direct plantar approach to plantar plate repairs (PPRs) by reporting the rate of specific complications in a large clinical series.

This was the institutional review board (IRB) approved retrospective study of 204 PPRs in 185 patients (194 lesser MTP, 10 hallux MTP) with an average age of 56 and a mean body mass index (BMI) of 28. Surgical technique involved repair with absorbable braided suture (88%) versus suture anchor (12%) with or without MTPJ pinning (80%). Mean follow up was 53 weeks (range 5-170). Patients were screened for associated risk factors, including diabetes mellitus (8%), tobacco use (5%), neuropathy (1%), and additional concurrent procedures (96%). Complications were defined as superficial or deep infection, painful scars, and reoperation. Analysis was conducted using the Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney test or Fisher's exact tests for continuous and categorical variables, respectively. Risk factors were analyzed using univariate logistic analysis to produce odds ratios (OR) with a 95% confidence interval (CI) and an inclusion criterion of a P-value, P > .2 for multivariate analysis as determined by Wald tests (significance at P < .05 for final modeling).

Overall, there were 31 total complications (15%) demonstrated by 14 superficial infections (6.8%) and 17 painful scars (8.3%) along with three reoperations (1.4%). All reoperations were performed for deformity or instability, not scar revision. There were no deep infections. No increased odds of complications were found with suture anchor repair, MTPJ pinning, neuropathy, or diabetes. Patients that used tobacco had 7.5 (CI 1.66, 34.06) the odds of developing any wound complication compared with nonsmokers. Tobacco use was also found to significantly increase the odds of superficial infection by 9.8 (CI 2.08, 46.15). There was no increase in painful scars or reoperation in tobacco users. This study did not find an increased complication rate with additional ipsilateral procedures performed at the time of surgery.

To our knowledge, this is the largest study evaluating the direct plantar approach to PPR as well as the evaluation of associated complications with the plantar incision. With low complication and minimal reoperation rates, the results of this study have demonstrated the clinical viability of plantar-based incisions. Previous studies have demonstrated the success of PPR and correction of deformity with a direct approach. This case series further demonstrates the safety and efficacy of plantar-based incisions, particularly for direct PPRs.

IV Retrospective Case Series.

Lesser Toes.

Utility of Post-Splinting Conventional Radiographs in Adult Patients With Ankle Fractures Presenting to the Emergency Department.

Foot and Ankle International

Post-splinting radiographs are often performed in patients with ankle fractures to identify displacement that potentially occurs during splinting. The objective of this study was to investigate the significance of post-splinting conventional radiographs, with an emphasis on stable ankle fractures, not requiring reduction.

A retrospective study in which all adult patients presenting with ankle fractures to the emergency department of a level 1 trauma center were included. The primary outcome was frequency of displacement at post-splinting radiographs. Secondary outcome was the rate of successful reduction attempts.

A total of 225 patients were included and the majority had a Supination-External Rotation (SER) type 2 or Weber B ankle fracture. One hundred fifty patients (mainly SER 2 fractures [68%] or Weber B [89%] fractures), were treated with a splint without fracture reduction. Post-splinting radiographs in these patients, as well as in all patients with a Supination-Adduction (SA) type 1 and 2 fractures, did not show loss of alignment.

Post-splinting radiographs are probably not necessary in any SA and SER type 2 or Weber A/B ankle fractures without medical clear space widening or need for reduction as no loss of alignment occurred when applying a splint.

IV-Case Series.

The Statistical Fragility of Operative vs Nonoperative Management for Achilles Tendon Rupture: A Systematic Review of Comparative Studies.

Foot and Ankle International

The statistical significance of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and comparative studies is often conveyed utilizing the P value. However, P values are an imperfect measure and may be vulnerable to a small number of outcome reversals to alter statistical significance. The interpretation of the statistical strength of these studies may be aided by the inclusion of a Fragility Index (FI) and Fragility Quotient (FQ). This study examines the statistical stability of studies comparing operative vs nonoperative management for Achilles tendon rupture.

A systematic search was performed of 10 orthopaedic journals between 2000 and 2021 for comparative studies focusing on management of Achilles tendon rupture reporting dichotomous outcome measures. FI for each outcome was determined by the number of event reversals necessary to alter significance (P < .05). FQ was calculated by dividing the FI by the respective sample size. Additional subgroup analyses were performed.

Of 8020 studies screened, 1062 met initial search criteria with 17 comparative studies ultimately included for analysis, 10 of which were RCTs. A total of 40 outcomes were examined. Overall, the median FI was 2.5 (interquartile range [IQR] 2-4), the mean FI was 2.90 (±1.58), the median FQ was 0.032 (IQR 0.012-0.069), and the mean FQ was 0.049 (±0.062). The FI was less than the number of patients lost to follow-up for 78% of outcomes.

Studies examining the efficacy of operative vs nonoperative management of Achilles tendon rupture may not be as statistically stable as previously thought. The average number of outcome reversals needed to alter the significance of a given study was 2.90. Future analyses may benefit from the inclusion of a fragility index and a fragility quotient in their statistical analyses.

Functional Activity After Flatfoot Reconstruction With Lateral Column Lengthening.

Foot and Ankle International

The objective of this study was to evaluate return to activity following flatfoot reconstruction with lateral column lengthening (LCL) by assessing functional postoperative data and identifying patient characteristics associated with poor function following surgery.

Consecutive patients that underwent operative flatfoot correction including LCL and other necessary procedures from 2014 to 2019 by 3 fellowship trained foot and ankle orthopedic surgeons were retrospectively administered Foot and Ankle Ability Measure (FAAM) Activities of Daily Living (ADL) and FAAM Sports questionnaires with no preoperative scoring available. Patient demographic factors, comorbidities, and radiographic features were evaluated as predictors of outcome scores to simulate return to activity. Statistical analysis, including student's t-tests and analysis of variance, was performed.

A total of 54 patients were included. A body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater was associated with a lower ADL score (P = .002) and Sports score (P = .002). Preoperative hindfoot valgus of 9° or higher was associated with higher ADL scores (P = .040). Neither age nor any flatfoot radiographic parameters yielded significant differences in functional scores.

This study demonstrated relatively high average FAAM scores in both the ADL and the sports subscales, consistent with previous studies. This study also identified lower BMI and greater preoperative hindfoot valgus as potential predictors of improved functional outcome following reconstruction.

Level III: Retrospective case control.

Philosophies of Surgical Care Are Embedded in Outcome Studies: An Illustrative Reanalysis of the Cartiva MOTION Trial.

Foot and Ankle International

Subjective assumptions on the definition of surgical success are inherent to the design of clinical trials with a categorial outcome. The current study used reasonable alternative assumptions about surgical care to reassess data for the randomized controlled Cartiva trial (MOTION).

Data from the published study were augmented by publicly accessible internal US Food and Drug Administration documents. As in the published report, 1-sided lower bound 95% CIs (LBCI95) for the difference of proportions were calculated for a series of alternative scenarios in which the assumptions underlying what constitutes surgical success were altered.

Using a noninferiority margin of -15%, the MOTION trial reported success based on a 1-sided LBCI95 of -10.9%. Each of the 3 independent alternative scenarios analyzed yielded results that altered the primary outcome of the trial: (1) eliminating failures based solely upon radiographs findings, thereby considering a painless pseudarthrosis as a success (1-sided LBCI95 of -15.9%), (2) considering only major surgical revision as a failure and discounting isolated hardware removal (1-sided LBCI95 of -15.1%), and (3) using a visual analog scale (VAS) pain threshold of <30 as the success criterion rather than a 30% reduction in VAS pain score (1-sided LBCI95 of -15.8%).

In this reanalysis, applying any of 3 reasonable alternative assumptions about the definition of surgical success to the data resulted in failure to prove noninferiority of Cartiva over arthrodesis, a reversal of the reported trial result. These results highlight the effect of subjective assumptions in the design of clinical trials with a categorical outcome and illustrate how differing philosophies about what constitutes surgical success can be pivotal in determining the final result.

Level II, prospective comparative study.