Treatment of late recurring idiopathic clubfoot deformity in adults

Published online: Oct 27 2007

Leonhard E. Ramseier, Ralf Schoeniger, Patrick Vienne, Norman Espinosa

From Balgrist University Hospital , Zurich, Switzerland


Late recurrence of idiopathic clubfoot deformity in adults after prior successful surgery in childhood remains a rarity and only case reports exist. No study has yet clarified the results of triple arthrodesis in such cases . Complete clinical and radiological review of 7 patients (7 feet) after a follow-up time of 43 months following triple arthrodesis was undertaken. The time interval between the last surgical intervention and the triple arthrodesis averaged 27 years. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) score was used as an outcome measure. Average age at time of review was 36 years (range 18-45). All patients were examined clinically and radiologically. The AOFAS-score improved from 43 points preoperatively to 61 points at follow-up (p = 0.004). If adjusted by excluding subtalar motion, the relative score improved by 19% (from 46% to 65% ; p = 0.0043). Although not significantly altered (p = 0.1), pain scores remained fair (25 points) but were improved compared with the preoperative evaluation (13 points). Ankle motion was not changed. Although statistically not significant, there was an increase in degree of ankle arthritis in 67% of patients (one patient had ankle fusion) and mid- and forefoot degenerative changes in 57%. Hindfoot alignment remained fair after surgical intervention. Triple arthrodesis is a palliative means to correct recurrent deformity in patients with idiopathic clubfoot. Despite residual symptoms and degenerative changes at the ankle , 86% of all patients were satisfied with the postoperative result.