The Development of a Neuropathic Ankle Following Successful Correction of Non-Plantigrade Charcot Foot Deformity

Loyola University Health System, Orthopaedic Surgery, 2160 South First Avenue, Maywood, IL 60153, USA.
Foot & Ankle International (Impact Factor: 1.51). 08/2012; 33(8):644-6. DOI: 10.3113/FAI.2012.0644
Source: PubMed


The treatment of Charcot foot arthropathy has traditionally involved immobilization during the acute phase followed by longitudinal management with accommodative bracing. In response to the perceived poor outcomes associated with nonoperative accommodative treatment, many experts now advise surgical correction of the deformity, especially when the affected foot is not clinically plantigrade. The significant rate of surgical and medical-associated morbidity accompanying this form of treatment has led surgeons to look for improved methods of surgical stabilization, including the use of the circular ring external fixation.
Over a 7-year period, a single surgeon performed surgical correction of non-plantigrade Charcot foot deformity on 171 feet in 164 patients with a statically applied circular external fixator. Following successful correction, five patients developed a neuropathic deformity of the ipsilateral ankle after removal of the external fixator and subsequent weight bearing total contact cast.
Three of the five patients progressed to successful healing of the neuropathic (Charcot) ankle arthropathy following treatment with a series of weightbearing total contact casts. Two underwent successful ankle fusion with retrograde locked intramedullary nailing.
This unusual clinical scenario likely represents either a progression of the disease process in the foot or a complication associated with surgical correction of the original neuropathic foot deformity. A better understanding of this observation will likely become apparent as we acquire more experience with this disorder.

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Available from: Michael S Pinzur, Nov 18, 2014