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Foot Ankle Int. 2013 Mar;34(3):420-5. doi: 10.1177/1071100712473742. Epub 2013 Feb 7.

Comparison of three different fixation methods of calcaneal osteotomies.

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Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals, London, UK.



There are various methods available to fix a calcaneal osteotomy, ranging from screws to plates and staples. It is not clear if one method is superior to the other. In this series we compare the complications and union rates of 3 different methods of fixation.


A retrospective review of the records of a consecutive series of patients who had a calcaneal osteotomy was undertaken. All patients had their osteotomy by the same technique, however the subsequent fixation was performed using 3 different methods: a lateral locking plate, a headless, or a headed screw. The screws were placed through a separate stab incision inserted from the infero-posterior heel. Records were kept of subsequent symptoms from the hardware and need for hardware removal as well as any complications. When screws were inserted, the entry point in relation to the weight-bearing surface of the calcaneus was also recorded. Sixty-seven osteotomies were investigated, of which 17 were fixed using a headed screw, 18 using a headless screw, and the remaining 32 were fixed using a lateral plate.


There was an overall 97% union rate. The only 2 cases of delayed union were both fixed using a lateral plate. Overall, 47% of the headed screws, 11% of the headless screws, and 6% of the lateral plates were removed to address symptoms that were suspected to arise from the hardware. There was a 10% rate of wound complication in the lateral plate cohort. There were no cases of sural nerve injury or neuroma. No correlation was found between entry position of screw and subsequent hardware symptoms.


Calcaneal osteotomies have high union rates regardless of fixation method. Fixation using a headed screw is associated with a high rate of secondary screw removal. This was unrelated to the position of the screw in relation to the weight-bearing surface of the calcaneus in our series. Hardware problems were less frequent in the headless screw or the lateral plate groups; however, the incidence of local wound complications and radiological delayed union was higher in the group fixed with a lateral plate. This may be related to the greater soft tissue dissection and lesser compression achieved at the osteotomy site.


Level III, retrospective case control study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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