Current methods of treating calcaneus fractures vary greatly, and many techniques of internal fixation have been described. The study of these fractures has been limited in part by the lack of a suitable laboratory model. In this study, a new cadaveric model of calcaneus fractures was developed, using a combination of osteotomies and impaction. The model allows a pattern of intraarticular injury to be reproduced consistently. The model was used to examine one aspect of internal fixation. It was hypothesized that fixation would be more stable if the screws supporting the posterior facet were incorporated into the lateral plate, as opposed to being separate from the plate. Six pairs of anatomic specimen legs were used, and each pair was divided randomly between two experimental groups. In Group A (screws out), the posterior facet screws were outside the plate, and in Group B (screws in), the screws were incorporated into the plate. The strength of the reconstructed calcanei were evaluated by axial loading of the limb through the tibia. Stiffness and energy to failure were significantly greater and Bohler's angle significantly less compromised in Group B. It was concluded that the position of the articular fragment of comminuted calcaneal fractures will be maintained at higher loads when the screws in the posterior facet are incorporated into the lateral plate. The model of calcaneal fractures described in this study may be suitable for examining other aspects of fixation.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC; “Division of Orthopaedics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
†Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering
††College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.