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Long-Term Retrospective Study of Patients with Idiopathic Clubfoot Treated with Posterior Medial-Lateral Release
Lawrence P. Hsu, MD1; Luciano S. Dias, MD2; Vineeta T. Swaroop, MD2
1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 676 North St. Clair Avenue, Suite 1350, Chicago, IL 60611. E-mail address: larryphsu@gmail.com
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 345 East Superior Street, 11th Floor, Chicago, IL 60611
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Investigation performed at the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois

Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. None of the authors, or their institution(s), have had any financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with any entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. Also, no author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2013 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2013 Mar 06;95(5):e27 1-8. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.L.00246
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It has been demonstrated that an important component of clubfoot deformity is related to pathologic external rotation of the talus with respect to the remainder of the foot. The purpose of the present study was to review the long-term results for a cohort of patients with idiopathic clubfoot who were managed by a single surgeon with a uniform surgical protocol consisting of extensive posterior medial-lateral release in addition to the use of a temporary Kirschner wire to derotate the talus prior to fixation.


Eighty patients (120 clubfeet) with idiopathic clubfoot without previous surgery were managed with posterior medial-lateral release. At an average of twenty-one years postoperatively, patients underwent a detailed physical examination and completed four quality-of-life surveys (the Short Form-36, the Laaveg and Ponseti scale, the Foot Function Index, and the modified Atar scale).


Thirty-two clubfeet (27%) had required additional procedures at the time of follow-up, with only one patient requiring complete revision posterior medial-lateral release and none requiring subtalar or triple arthrodesis. In patients with unilateral clubfoot, clinical examination demonstrated a significant decrease in the range of motion (p < 0.001), foot length (p = 0.045), and calf circumference (p = 0.008) on the affected side as compared with the unaffected, contralateral side. The results on all four quality-of-life scales remained durable, with no decline in relation to the time from the index procedure (p ≥ 0.48). Significantly worse scores were found for patients who required additional surgical procedures (p ≤ 0.03).


Previous studies have demonstrated inconsistent long-term results following the treatment of clubfoot with extensive soft-tissue releases. With our technique, thirty-two clubfeet (27%) required additional procedures and only one clubfoot required revision posterior medial-lateral release. We demonstrate that our technique, which involves aggressive posterior medial-lateral soft-tissue release in addition to manual derotation of the talus with a Kirschner wire to correct pathologic external rotation, produces acceptable results.

Level of Evidence: 

Therapeutic Level IV. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

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    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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