Background: Surgical resection of persistently painful talocalcaneal tarsal coalitions may not reliably relieve symptoms in patients with large coalitions associated with excessive hindfoot valgus deformity and subtalar posterior facet narrowing. Since 1991, calcaneal lengthening osteotomy, with or without coalition resection, has been used at our institution to relieve symptoms and to preserve motion at the talonavicular and calcaneocuboid joints.
Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records for eight patients with thirteen painful talocalcaneal tarsal coalitions who had undergone a calcaneal lengthening osteotomy for deformity correction with or without coalition resection between 1991 and 2005. Preoperative and postoperative clinical, radiographic, and computed tomographic records were reviewed. The duration of clinical follow-up ranged from two to fifteen years.
Results: Calcaneal lengthening osteotomy fully corrected the valgus deformity and provided short-to-intermediate term pain relief for the five patients (nine feet) in whom the talocalcaneal tarsal coalition was unresectable. The patient with resectable coalitions but excessive valgus deformities underwent calcaneal lengthening osteotomies along with coalition resections and had excellent deformity correction and pain relief in both feet. One of the two patients who underwent calcaneal lengthening osteotomy years after coalition resection had excellent correction and pain relief. The other patient had a coincident calcaneonavicular coalition and severe degenerative arthritis in the talonavicular joint. He underwent concurrent arthrodesis of the talonavicular joint and, although he had excellent deformity correction, had persistent pain. All feet underwent concurrent gastrocnemius or Achilles tendon lengthening.
Conclusions: It is generally accepted that resection is the treatment of choice for an intractably painful small talocalcaneal tarsal coalition that is associated with a wide, healthy posterior facet and minimal valgus deformity of the hindfoot. Although triple arthrodesis has been recommended for those who do not meet all three criteria, the present study suggests that an algorithmic treatment approach is justified. Treatment of the valgus deformity appears to be as important as that of the coalition. Calcaneal lengthening osteotomy with gastrocnemius or Achilles tendon lengthening is effective for correcting deformity and relieving pain in rigid flatfeet, just as it is in flexible flatfeet.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.
1Department of Orthopaedics, Seattle Children’s Hospital, 4800 Sand Point Way NE, P.O. Box 5371/W-7706, Seattle, WA 98105. E-mail address: email@example.com
2Orthopaedic Department, Middlemore Hospital, Hospital Road, Otahuhu, Auckland 1640, New Zealand