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Foot Ankle Int. 1999 Mar;20(3):166-70.

Subtalar arthrodesis for late sequelae of calcaneal fractures: fusion in situ versus fusion with sliding corrective osteotomy.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kaohsiung Medical College, Taiwan, Republic of China.


Primary subtalar arthritis is not common. In most cases, it is the late sequela of intra-articular calcaneal fracture. Subtalar arthrodesis is mostly used for the treatment of traumatic subtalar arthritis in our clinics. We have compared our early cases of in-situ subtalar fusion with our recent cases of fusion with sliding corrective osteotomy in this clinical report. From 1989 to 1992, 15 feet of 13 patients were treated with subtalar arthrodeses for subtalar arthritis caused by malunion of calcaneal fractures. Fusion in situ was done by Ollier's approach, and resection of bony protrusion was done if there was lateral entrapment syndrome. From 1992 to 1995, 13 feet of 12 patients also received subtalar arthrodeses to salvage their calcaneal fractures, but the subtalar fusion was done by wide lateral approach, calcaneal sliding corrective osteotomy, and sometimes (11 of 13 feet) with Achilles tendon lengthening to restore the calcaneal height and width. Patients of both groups experienced obvious clinical improvement in subtalar pain relief, but there was no difference with walking distance, running, or jumping. The group undergoing fusion with sliding corrective osteotomy was more satisfied with regard to cosmetic results and shoe wear. The overall satisfactory rate in the group who underwent fusion with sliding corrective osteotomy (92%) was superior to the group who underwent fusion in situ (77%). Though our method of sliding corrective osteotomy does not provide much improvement to the talus declination angle, it is suitable for those patients with a "banana"-shaped calcaneus malunion. If the patient has prominent anterior ankle pain caused by tibiotalar impingement, we believe that a distraction subtalar arthrodesis would be more appropriate.

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