Background: The failure of nonsurgical treatment of patients with midfoot and hindfoot deformity secondary to diabetic Charcot arthropathy may lead to a rocker-bottom foot deformity with recurrent or persistent plantar ulceration. We report our experience with realignment and extended fusion with primary use of a medial column screw for this midfoot deformity.
Methods: From July 2001 through July 2005, we performed reconstructive surgery on fifteen adults with diabetes mellitus who had a severe neuropathic midfoot deformity consisting of a collapsed plantar arch with a rocker-bottom foot deformity. Thirteen had a nonhealing midfoot plantar ulcer. All underwent realignment and arthrodesis with a medial column screw; some required additional fixation techniques depending on the extent of the deformity. Outcome measures included ulcer and surgical wound-healing, radiographic results, complications, and the need for amputation.
Results: The mean duration of clinical follow-up was forty-two months. Fourteen patients were able to walk, and there were no recurrent plantar ulcers. Thirteen patients were able to wear custom-made extra-depth, wide-toed shoes with molded inserts. One patient without prior ulceration had development of a deep infection that necessitated an amputation. Four feet had a nonunion, one of which was symptomatic requiring a revision to obtain union.
Conclusions: Surgical reconstruction of a collapsed neuropathic foot deformity is technically demanding, but a successful outcome can result in a plantigrade foot that is free of ulceration and abnormal pressure points and a patient who is able to walk. The procedure described has an acceptable degree of complications although it has a high rate of nonunion.
Level of Evidence: Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions to Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.