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J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2007 Mar;89 Suppl 2 Pt.1:111-21.

Early results of a new method of treatment for idiopathic congenital vertical talus. Surgical technique.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Washington University School of Medicine, One Children's Place, Suite 4S20, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.



The treatment of idiopathic congenital vertical talus has traditionally consisted of manipulation and application of casts followed by extensive soft-tissue releases. However, this treatment is often followed by severe stiffness of the foot and other complications. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a new method of manipulation and cast immobilization, based on principles used by Ponseti for the treatment of clubfoot deformity, followed by pinning of the talonavicular joint and percutaneous tenotomy of the Achilles tendon in patients with idiopathic congenital vertical talus.


The cases of eleven consecutive patients who had a total of nineteen feet with an idiopathic congenital vertical talus deformity were retrospectively reviewed at a minimum of two years following treatment with serial manipulations and casts followed by limited surgery consisting of percutaneous Achilles tenotomy (all nineteen feet), fractional lengthening of the anterior tibial tendon (two) or the peroneal brevis tendon (one), and percutaneous pin fixation of the talonavicular joint (twelve). The principles of manipulation and application of the plaster casts were similar to those used by Ponseti to correct a clubfoot deformity, but the forces were applied in the opposite direction. Patients were evaluated clinically and radiographically at the time of presentation, immediately postoperatively, and at the time of the latest follow-up. Radiographic measurements obtained at these times were compared. In addition, the radiographic data at the final evaluation were compared with normal values for an individual of the same age as the patient.


Initial correction was obtained both clinically and radiographically in all nineteen feet. A mean of five casts was required for correction. No patient underwent extensive surgical releases. At the final evaluation, the mean ankle dorsiflexion was 25 degrees and the mean plantar flexion was 33 degrees . Dorsal subluxation of the navicular recurred in three patients, none of whom had had pin fixation of the talonavicular joint. At the time of the latest follow-up, there was a significant improvement (p < 0.0001) in all of the measured radiographic parameters compared with the pretreatment values, and all of the measured angles were within normal values for the patient's age.


Serial manipulation and cast immobilization followed by talonavicular pin fixation and percutaneous tenotomy of the Achilles tendon provides excellent results, in terms of the clinical appearance of the foot, foot function, and deformity correction as measured radiographically at a minimum two years, in patients with idiopathic congenital vertical talus.

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