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Arthroscopy. 2008 Feb;24(2):196-202. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2007.08.025. Epub 2007 Nov 8.

Outcome of posterior ankle arthroscopy for hindfoot impingement.

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Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, 3M Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.



To provide short-term clinical results of posterior ankle arthroscopy in the treatment of posterior ankle impingement.


This was a retrospective evaluation of the clinical outcomes of posterior ankle arthroscopy in a series of patients with posterior ankle pain.


Of 23 patients who underwent 24 posterior ankle arthroscopies between July 1998 and February 2004, 15 patients (mean age, 25 years) with 16 posterior ankle arthroscopies were evaluated at a mean follow-up time of 32 months (range, 6 to 74). Procedures carried out were: excision of os trigonum (11); decompression of prominent posterior talar process (5); tenolysis of flexor hallucis longus (5); removal of loose body (1); osteochondritis dissecans lesion debridement (1); and arthrotomy (1). The average time to return to work was 1 month (range, 0 to 3) and to sports, 5.8 months (range, 1 to 24). Fourteen patients returned to their preinjury level of athletics. Mean Health Survey Short Form (SF-12) scores were 51.80 for the mental component (range, 30.77 to 60.53) and 55.80 for the physical component (range, 44.26 to 63.33). Mean score on the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society Ankle and Hindfoot Scale was 91 (range, 77 to 100) and on the Lower Extremity Functional Scale was 75 (range, 65 to 80). Documented complications included temporary numbness in the region of the scar in 5 patients and temporary ankle stiffness in 1 patient. There were no permanent neurovascular injuries. All subjects reported significant improvement and indicated that they would undergo the surgery again if needed.


Functional and clinical evaluations following posterior ankle arthroscopy revealed that all patients were very satisfied. They reported good to excellent health-related quality of life scores, satisfactory functional outcomes, and a high rate of return to sporting activities. Most importantly, no significant complications were encountered. This review suggests that posterior ankle arthroscopy is a safe and effective surgical procedure in the treatment of posterior ankle impingement.


Level IV, therapeutic case series.

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