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Arthrofibrosis Involving the Middle Facet of the Talocalcaneal Joint in Children and Adolescents
George El Rassi, MD1; Eric C. Riddle, MHS, PA-C1; S. Jay Kumar, MD1
1 Department of Orthopaedics, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, 1600 Rockland Road, P.O. Box 269, Wilmington, DE 19899. E-mail address for S.J. Kumar: sjaykum@nemours.org
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The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research or preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.
Investigation performed at the Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Delaware

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2005 Oct 01;87(10):2227-2231. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.D.02239
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Background: Pain over the anterolateral aspect of the ankle in a patient with a history of repeated ankle sprains and with restricted subtalar movement may be associated with a tarsal coalition. Nineteen patients presented with such a history, but conventional imaging did not reveal a cartilaginous or osseous coalition. Since symptoms persisted despite nonoperative treatment, the middle facet was explored surgically. The purpose of this study was to discuss the operative findings and to report the results of treatment.

Methods: Nineteen patients (twenty-three feet) with pain over the anterolateral aspect of the ankle or a history of repeated ankle sprains had restricted subtalar joint motion and inconclusive findings on diagnostic imaging, except for bone-scanning. Their ages ranged from 9.1 to 18.5 years. The middle facet of the subtalar joint was explored surgically through a 3 to 4-cm-long incision centered over the sustentaculum tali. The results at a mean of 5.8 years were classified as good, fair, or poor on the basis of pain, talocalcaneal joint motion, and shoe wear.

Results: Routine radiographs, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging revealed no major abnormality, whereas technetium-99m bone scintigraphy consistently showed slightly increased isotope uptake in the middle facet. Surgical removal of a hypervascular and thickened capsule and synovium in the area of the middle facet of the subtalar joint decreased pain and improved subtalar motion. The final result was good in seventeen patients (twenty feet) and fair in two patients (three feet). There were no poor results.

Conclusions: A diagnosis of inflammatory arthrofibrosis should be considered when a patient with a painful rigid flatfoot has normal findings on radiographs and hematological studies but increased isotope uptake in the middle facet of the talocalcaneal joint on bone scintigraphy. Excision of the hypervascular capsule and synovium from this area can result in resolution of the symptoms.

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

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    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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