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Foot Ankle Int. 2014 Aug;35(8):747-756. Epub 2014 May 21.

Endoscopic Gastrocnemius Recession for the Treatment of Isolated Gastrocnemius Contracture: A Prospective Study on 320 Consecutive Patients.

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Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA
Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA.
Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Thammasat University, Pathumthani, Thailand.



Endoscopic gastrocnemius recession has been proposed as a minimally invasive technique for the treatment of isolated gastrocnemius contracture. We report on the safety and efficacy of endoscopic gastrocnemius recession, as an isolated procedure or combined with other concomitant procedures in terms of improvement in ankle dorsiflexion, functional outcome, and postoperative morbidities.


The data were prospectively collected in this case series. Endoscopic gastrocnemius recession was performed by a single surgeon in 320 consecutive patients (344 feet) who were diagnosed with isolated gastrocnemius contracture and failed nonoperative treatments between March 2009 and December 2012. There were 180 women and 140 men with mean age, 47.1 ± 15.7 years. The minimum follow-up was 1 year (mean, 18 months; range, 12 to 53 months). Pre- and postoperative ankle dorsiflexion, pain (Visual Analog Scale [VAS]), SF-36, and Foot Function Index (FFI) were obtained and compared using paired sample t test and Wilcoxon signed-rank test.


The mean ankle dorsiflexion significantly improved from -0.8 ± 5.4 degrees preoperatively to 11.0 ± 6.6 degrees at average of 13 months postoperatively (n = 294) (P < .001). Complete preoperative and 1-year postoperative pain (VAS) (n = 274) and functional outcome scores (n = 185) were collected when possible. The mean pain (VAS) decreased from 7/10 to 3/10 postoperatively (all P < .01). The mean SF-36 including physical component summary score (PCS) and mental component summary score (MCS) increased from 34 and 44 to 45 and 51, respectively (P < .01 for both PCS and MCS). The mean FFI improved from 63 to 42 for pain, 63 to 43 for disability, 68 to 44 for activity limitation, and 61 to 41 for total score postoperatively (all P < .01). Postoperative morbidity included weakness of ankle plantarflexion (N = 11/320; 3.1% respectively) and sural nerve dysesthesia (N = 10/320; 3.4%). Wound complications or Achilles tendon rupture did not occur. There was no difference in the average improvement in ankle dorsiflexion, outcome scores, and rate of complications between the isolated and combined procedures.


Endoscopic gastrocnemius recession demonstrated promising results in the treatment of isolated gastrocnemius contracture. Ankle dorsiflexion was significantly improved with minimal morbidity. The procedure was found effective in improving functional outcomes and relieving pain as a sole operative treatment and as a part of combined procedures in our patients.


Level IV, case series.


endoscopic technique; functional outcomes and complications; gastrocnemius recession; gastrosoleus contracture


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