The importance of the rotational profile of the first metatarsal is increasingly recognized in the surgical planning of hallux valgus. However, rotation in the normal population has only been measured in small series. We aimed to identify the normal range of first metatarsal rotation in a large series using weightbearing computed tomography (WBCT).
WBCT scans were retrospectively analyzed for 182 normal feet (91 patients). Hallux valgus angle, intermetatarsal angle, anteroposterior/lateral talus–first metatarsal angle, calcaneal pitch, and hindfoot alignment angle were measured using digitally reconstructed radiographs. Patients with abnormal values for any of these measures and those with concomitant pathology, previous surgery, or hallux rigidus were excluded. Final assessment was performed on 126 feet. Metatarsal pronation (MPA) and α angles were measured on standardized coronal computed tomography slices. Pronation was recorded as positive. Intraobserver and interobserver reliability were assessed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs).
Mean MPA was 5.5 ± 5.1 (range, –6 to 25) degrees, and mean α angle was 6.9 ± 5.5 (range, –5 to 22) degrees. When considering the normal range as within 2 standard deviations of the mean, the normal range identified was −5 to 16 degrees for MPA and −4 to 18 degrees for α angle. Interobserver and intraobserver reliability were excellent for both MPA (ICC = 0.80 and 0.97, respectively) and α angle (ICC = 0.83 and 0.95, respectively). There was a moderate positive correlation between MPA and α angle (Pearson coefficient 0.68, P < .001).
Metatarsal rotation is variable in normal feet. Normal MPA can be defined as less than 16 degrees, and normal α angle can be defined as less than 18 degrees. Both MPA and α angle are reproducible methods for assessing rotation. Further work is needed to evaluate these angles in patients with deformity and to determine their significance when planning surgical correction of hallux valgus.
Level of Evidence
Level III, retrospective comparative study.