High-grade calcaneal fractures represent a complex injury, with limited data to support the advisability of open reduction. Restoration of foot and ankle kinematics
during walking, which has been previously shown to be significantly limited after nonoperative treatment, has never been studied after the operation. This study was designed to address this lack of information to assess the advisability of the operation in this respect.
Twenty patients with a minimum of 2 years after Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF) for high-grade fractures
were evaluated with a computerized gait analysis system, in addition to the radiographic assessment and functional questionnaires. Foot and ankle kinematic variables in the operated limbs were compared with contralateral limbs and with matched healthy control individuals.
The kinematical gait analysis demonstrated recreation of normal ankle motions in operated patients. Subtalar
motion demonstrated relative symmetry between operated and contralateral limbs, but it was still significantly limited compared with healthy controls. Bohler angle was between 15° and 35°. Functional questionnaires and rate of postoperative complications supported the generalizability of our operated group compared with previous literature assessing similar injuries.
In high-grade calcaneal fractures, when recreation of gross calcaneal anatomy is obtained during the operation, walking ankle motion is recreated as well. However, subtalar
motions, although recreated to a certain extent, still demonstrate limitations when compared with noninjured individuals. These results support the advisability of the operation in these complex injuries, but they demonstrate that subtalar
motion is not completely normalized despite a favorable anatomic outcome.