Every month, JBJS publishes a Specialty Update—a review of the most pertinent and impactful studies published in the orthopaedic literature during the previous year in 13 subspecialties. Here is a summary of selected findings from Level I and II studies cited in the May 20, 2015 Specialty Update on foot and ankle surgery:
Talar and Calcaneal Fractures
- A prospective randomized study comparing the sinus tarsi approach with the minimally invasive approach to the calcaneus found significantly fewer wound healing complications and shorter operative times with the minimally invasive longitudinal approach, but better outcomes were noted with the sinus tarsi approach for Sanders type-IV fractures.
- An RCT comparing outcomes of operative and nonoperative treatment for displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures found no between-group differences at one year, but a trend toward better pain scores and function was noted in the operative group at eight to twelve years.
- A prospective randomized study of treatments for severe lateral ankle sprains compared a walking boot with restricted joint mobilization for three weeks with immediate application of a functional brace. No between-group differences in pain scores or development of mechanical instability were found, but the immediate functional-brace group had better function scores and shorter recoveries.
- A randomized trial comparing neuromuscular training, bracing, and a combination of the two for managing lateral ankle sprains concluded that bracing is the dominant secondary preventive intervention.
Total Ankle Arthroplasty
- A Level II study comparing total ankle arthroplasty (TAA) with ankle arthrodesis found that both procedures improved gait postoperatively, but TAA came closer to restoring a normal gait.
- A Level II study comparing fixed and mobile-bearing TAA devices found nearly equivalent improvements in pain and function.
- A Level I study looking at TAA outcomes in relation to preoperative coronal-plane malalignment found that results were similar for ankles with a preoperative coronal-plane varus deformity of ≥10° and those with <10° of varus deformity.
Ankle and Hindfoot Arthrodesis
- A pilot RCT comparing B2A-coated ceramic granules with autograft in foot and ankle arthrodesis found that the B2A approach produced a 100% fusion rate, compared with a 92% rate in the autograft group.
- A Level II study found that weight-bearing cast immobilization provided outcomes that were similar to those of non-weight-bearing cast immobilization in non-operative management of acute Achilles tendon ruptures.
- In an RCT comparing standard-of-care orthoses with experimental pressure-based orthoses to prevent plantar foot ulcers, the experimental orthoses outperformed the standard ones.
- A Level I study investigating surgical-site infections after foot and/or ankle surgery found an increased risk of infection associated with concomitant peripheral neuropathy, even in patients without diabetes.
Len Chandler of Melbourne, Australia had a cancerous tumor in his left calcaneus and was facing a below-the-knee amputation because of the difficulty entailed in achieving a functional limb salvage procedure. Surgeon Peter Choong teamed with an implant manufacturer and Australia’s national science agency to create an exact titanium replica of the involved bone. The 3D-printed bone had to be both porous, to allow tissue in growth, and ultra-smooth so that it could articulate with hind and midfoot joints, and allow smooth tendon gliding.
After this ground-breaking surgery in July, Chandler is now able to carry more than half his body weight on that foot. The prognosis is for Chandler to be off crutches by the end of 2014. Click here to read the full story. Also, read the related OrthoBuzz article about the first 3D-printed cervical disc implanted in a minor.