Monday, May 30, 2011

Treatment of Displaced Intra-Articular Calcaneal Fractures with Closed Reduction and Percutaneous Screw Fixation

T. Tomesen, J. Biert and J.P.M. Frölke. 

Surgical treatment of displaced intra-articular fractures of the calcaneus is a standard procedure in many institutions. To avoid soft-tissue complications, several minimally invasive procedures have recently been introduced. The aim of this study was to assess the percutaneous treatment of displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures with use of one of these techniques.


All patients who underwent percutaneous screw fixation according to the method of Forgon and Zadravecz between 1998 and 2006 were selected. Postoperative infections were recorded. During follow-up, pain, functional outcome, range of motion, and change in footwear were evaluated with the use of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS) score and the Maryland Foot Score (MFS). All patients also completed a general health status form (Short Form-36 [SF-36]) and a visual analog scale (VAS) for patient satisfaction. Subsequent subtalar arthrodesis and the removal of irritating screws were performed when indicated.


We reviewed the cases of thirty-seven patients who had a combined total of thirty-nine displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures and a follow-up period of at least twenty-four months. Five wound infections occurred, two of which were superficial and three of which were deep. At a mean follow-up time of sixty-six months, the mean AOFAS and MFS scores were 84 and 86 points, respectively, of 100 possible points. The mean score on the SF-36 was 76 points, and the mean score on the visual analog scale for patient satisfaction was 7.9 points of 10 possible points. Twenty-nine patients (78%) were able to wear normal shoes. At the time of follow-up, subtalar arthrodesis had been performed in two patients and seventeen patients (46%) had undergone an uncomplicated removal of painful screws. No substantial correlation was found between the severity of the fracture (Sanders classification) or the quality of the reduction when correlated with functional outcome parameters.


We consider the technique of Forgon and Zadravecz to be an excellent option for the treatment of displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures in selected patients despite the frequent need for screw removal following fracture-healing.


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

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