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
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    ABSTRACT: Charcot neuroarthropathy (CN) of the foot and ankle is a demanding clinical dilemma, and surgical management can be very complicated. Historically, the evidence guiding surgical management of CN has been small retrospective case series and expert opinions. The purpose of the present report was to provide a systematic review of studies published from 2009 to 2014 and to review the indications for surgery. A Medline search was performed, and a systematic review of studies discussing the surgical management of CN was undertaken. Thirty reports fit the inclusion criteria for our study, including 860 patients who had undergone a surgical procedure for the treatment of CN. The surgical procedures included amputation, arthrodesis, debridement of ulcers, drainage of infections, and exostectomy. The midfoot was addressed in 26.9% of cases, the hindfoot in 41.6%, and the ankle in 38.4%. Of the 30 studies, 24 were retrospective case series (level 4), 4 were controlled retrospective studies (level 3), and 2 were level II studies. The overall amputation rate was 8.9%. The quality of the published data on the surgical management of CN has improved during the past several years. Evidence concerning the timing of treatment and the use of different fixation methods remains inconclusive.
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