What’s New in Foot and Ankle Surgery 2021

Every month, JBJS publishes a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 14 subspecialties. Click here for a collection of all such OrthoBuzz specialty-update summaries.

This month, co-author Timothy R. Daniels, MD, FRCSC summarizes the 5 most compelling findings from the >80 studies highlighted in the recently published “What’s New in Foot and Ankle Surgery.”

Telemedicine 

–With virtual foot and ankle examinations become more widespread during the COVID-19 pandemic, a recent paper on telehealth consultations offers guidance on preparing patients for the appointment as well as examination instructions that can be read by clinicians to patients and a checklist for medical record documentation1.

Ankle Reconstruction 

–Evaluating trends in foot and ankle surgery in Germany over the past decade, 1 study found that the volume of foot and ankle operations increased 39.5%, while the population increased 0.9%2. The volume of first metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) arthrodesis and ankle arthrodesis rose 77% and 31%, respectively, whereas first MTPJ arthroplasty and total ankle replacement declined 48% and 39%.

Total Ankle Replacement 

– In a prospective series of total ankle replacement procedures in which a standard anterior approach or an extensile anteromedial surgical approach was used in patients at higher risk for wound complications, 17 (2.6%) of 660 patients had major and 39 (5.9%) had minor wound-healing issues3. All major wound complications occurred in the anterior-approach group.

Morton Neuroma 

–A recent study assessed the utility of preoperative imaging and intraoperative histopathology in Morton neuroma4. Among 313 suspected neuromas operatively resected during the 10-year study period, Morton neuroma was confirmed in 309 (98.7%) on histopathologic examination. The postoperative treatment course was not altered for any patient on the basis of the pathology report, challenging the cost and utility of histopathologic evaluation of resected neuromas.

Patient-Reported Outcomes 

–Another recent study investigated the question of whether sociodemographic factors impact PROMIS scores meeting the Patient-Acceptable Symptom State (PASS) among foot and ankle patients. The authors found that patients ≥65 years of age accepted more functional limitation than younger patients, patients in the lowest income brackets reported more severe functional limitations as satisfactory compared with patients in the highest income brackets, and patients in the lowest income bracket sought surgical care later than those in the highest income bracket5.

References 

  1. Eble SK, Hansen OB, Ellis SJ, Drakos MC. The virtual foot and ankle physical examination. Foot Ankle Int. 2020 Aug;41(8):1017-26. Epub 2020 Jul 8.
  2. Milstrey A, Domnick C, Garcia P, Raschke MJ, Evers J, Ochman S. Trends in arthrodeses and total joint replacements in foot and ankle surgery in Germany during the past decade-back to the fusion? Foot Ankle Surg. 2020 May 26 [Epub ahead of print].
  3. Halai MM, Pinsker E, Daniels TR. Effect of novel anteromedial approach on wound complications following ankle arthroplasty. Foot Ankle Int. 2020 Oct;41(10):1198-205. Epub 2020 Jul 18.
  4. Raouf T, Rogero R, McDonald E, Fuchs D, Shakked RJ, Winters BS, Daniel JN, Pedowitz DI, Raikin SM. Value of preoperative imaging and intraoperative histopathology in Morton’s neuroma. Foot Ankle Int. 2019 Sep;40(9):1032-6. Epub 2019 May 29.
  5. Bernstein DN, Mayo K, Baumhauer JF, Dasilva C, Fear K, Houck JR. Do patient sociodemographic factors impact the PROMIS scores meeting the patient-acceptable symptom state at the initial point of care in orthopaedic foot and ankle patients? Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2019 Nov;477(11):2555-65.

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