Functional midterm outcome in 131 consecutive cases of surgical clubfoot treatment

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IntroductionSince introduction and widespread use of the Ponseti method in the last decade, the need for surgical treatment of clubfeet is nowadays limited to resistant cases. In the time before, surgery via dorsomedial release was a very common treatment option.MethodVery few long-term follow-up studies cover the outcome of surgical methods, which is particularly interesting, as clinical results rather worsen with time. In the present study, 98 children (131 clubfeet), who underwent surgical correction using the Imhauser method at the age of 4.5 months were included. Follow-up time was 8.2 years (0-11.8 years) at average.ResultsData could be retrieved from 46 patients (71 feet), only 5 patients (7 feet) were lost to follow-up. The rate of relapses was high, as 47 patients (53 feet) needed surgical revision for recurrence, while clinical scores showed a good result in the Laaveg and Ponseti Score and the Foot-Function-Index. Isokinetic testing and clinical data indicated a significant weakness of the treated foot, when compared to the healthy side in 12 patients with unilateral deformity. The presented study supports like others the issue that the clinical outcome of a surgical, posteromedial release in terms of relapses is disappointing. This fact is apparently not sufficiently reflected in the current clinical scores, which showed rather good results.ConclusionAs the question of evaluation methods for results of clubfoot treatment remains controversial, isokinetic testing is an easy to use alternative that provides detailed information about functional limitations and may help in reducing the need for repeated radiographic examinations.

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