Outcome of Patients After Achilles Tendon Lengthening for Treatment of Idiopathic Toe Walking

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Abstract

Fifteen children who were diagnosed with idiopathic toe walking that cannot be corrected by nonoperative treatment were assessed by clinical examination and computer-based gait analysis preoperatively and approximately 1 year after Achilles tendon lengthening. Passive dorsiflexion improved from a mean plantarflexion contracture of 8 degrees to dorsiflexion of 12 degrees after surgery. Ankle kinematics normalized, with mean ankle dorsiflexion in stance improving from −8 to 12 degrees and maximum swing phase dorsiflexion improving from −20 to 2 degrees. Peak ankle power generation increased from 2.05 to 2.37 W/kg but did not reach values of population norms. No patient demonstrated clinically relevant triceps surae weakness or a calcaneal gait pattern. Seven patients had a stance phase knee hyperextension preoperatively, and 6 of these corrected after surgery. Achilles tendon lengthening improves ankle kinematics without compromising triceps surae strength; however, plantarflexion power does not reach normal levels at 1 year after surgery.

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