Other than limited reports regarding surgical outcomes, little information is available regarding whether Z-plasty of the tibialis anterior results in normal gait kinematics. We included 5 patients with spontaneous ruptures in the present retrospective study. The mean interval between rupture and operative treatment was 2.6 ± 2.6 months (standard deviation). The mean age of the patients was 63 (range 40 to 80) years. All patients were treated operatively with Z-plasty. Gait analysis was used to study the outcome, comparing the operated and nonoperated limbs. The patients were tested after a mean follow-up of 22 (range 12 to 33) months. No repeat ruptures were noted. Plantarflexion was significantly diminished during the preswing phase and initial swing phase in the operated limbs compared with the uninjured limbs. Plantarflexion was significantly increased during the terminal swing phase on the operated side. Knee flexion was nearly symmetrical. No significant differences regarding the temporospatial parameters were noted. We recommend Z-plasty for ruptures of the tibialis anterior tendon as a safe and effective procedure. However, this technique does not fully restore a physiologic gait pattern.
Level of Clinical Evidence: 4