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Int Orthop. 2011 May;35(5):697-703. doi: 10.1007/s00264-011-1223-9. Epub 2011 Feb 19.

The sinus tarsi approach in displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures: a systematic review.

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Department of Surgery-Traumatology, Erasmus MC, University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.



Although open reduction and internal fixation is currently considered the gold standard in surgical treatment of displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures, various different approaches exist including the limited lateral approach. The aim of this systematic review was to combine the results of studies using the sinus tarsi approach, which is the most frequently applied limited lateral approach.


A literature search in the electronic databases of the Cochrane Library and Pubmed Medline, between January 1st 2000 to December 1st 2010, was conducted to identify studies in which the sinus tarsi approach or a modified sinus tarsi approach was utilized for the treatment of displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures. The methodological quality of the included studies was assessed using the Coleman methodology score.


A total of eight case series reporting on 256 patients with 271 calcaneal fractures was identified. Overall good to excellent outcome was reached in three-quarters of all patients. An average complication rate of minor wound complications of 4.1% was reported and major wound complications in 0.7%. The need for a secondary subtalar arthrodesis occurred at an average rate of 4.3%. The average Coleman methodology score was 56.8 (range 39-72) points.


The results, i.e. functional outcome and complication rates, of the sinus tarsi approach compare similarly or favourably to the extended lateral approach. Therefore, in the process of tailoring the best treatment modality to the right patient and the right fracture type, the sinus tarsi approach might be a valuable asset.

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