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Osteotomies of the Foot for Cavus Deformities in Children

Mubarak, Scott J. MD*; Van Valin, Scott E. MD

Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics: April-May 2009 - Volume 29 - Issue 3 - p 294-299
doi: 10.1097/BPO.0b013e31819aad20

Background: The cavovarus foot has been defined as plantar flexion of the first ray. The usual cause is due to a muscle imbalance. The purpose of this study was to report our experience with selective, joint-sparing osteotomies of the foot that address each deformity in the cavovarus foot in a stepwise fashion. Most bony procedures for correction of cavus feet have centered on osteotomies across multiple joints or fusions.

Methods: We report on stepwise osteotomies: (1) closing wedge to the first metatarsal, (2) opening plantar wedge of the medial cuneiform, (3) cuboid closing wedge, (4) and as needed second and third metatarsal osteotomies, calcaneal sliding osteotomies, and plantar fasciotomy and peroneus longus-to-brevis transfer. We measured all feet radiographically and clinically.

Results: We studied 20 feet in 13 patients with multiple etiologies. Nearly all feet were graded good to excellent on our outcome scale. Correction in Meary and Hibb angles was observed. There were no significant complications.

Conclusions: By performing a double osteotomy on the first ray (cuneiform and metatarsal), the cavus can be nearly fully corrected. The cuboid osteotomy provides increased mobility of the forefoot. The sliding calcaneal osteotomy should be used to improve any residual hindfoot varus. We recommend transferring the peroneus longus to brevis to balance the paralytic foot. The cavus foot needs to be addressed at the apex, while sparing the midtarsal joints and avoiding fusion. This sequence of osteotomies addresses all of the components of a cavus foot.

Level of Evidence: Therapeutic study-level IV.

From the *Orthopedic and Scoliosis Surgery, Division Children's Specialist of San Diego, San Diego, CA; and †Pediatric Orthopaedics, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI.

Study conducted at Rady Children's Hospital and Health Center, San Diego, CA.

Reprints: Scott J. Mubarak, MD, 3030 Children's Way, Suite 410, San Diego, CA 92123. E-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.