Traditional rebalancing techniques, such as capsulotomies and capsulorrhaphies, are commonly performed during complex hammertoe and lesser metatarsal osteotomy procedures involving metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ) contractures; however, floating toes, digital instability, and malalignment are concerns. We critically analyzed the outcomes after anatomic reconstruction of the plantar plate and collateral ligaments compared with those after traditional rebalancing techniques. A case-control study was conducted of 54 patients who had undergone surgical correction of lesser MTPJ imbalances due to complex hammertoe deformities (power 80%, type I error = 0.05). Cases were defined as consecutive patients treated with anatomic plantar plate and collateral ligament reconstruction. Controls had undergone traditional lesser MTPJ rebalancing and were matched to cases by age, gender, follow-up duration (minimum 12 months), and concomitant procedures of the same lesser ray. Multivariate logistic regression demonstrated that patients treated with anatomic reconstruction had greater digital stability (negative dorsal drawer and negative paper pull-out test findings) at final follow-up examination compared with the controls. American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) forefoot module scores were greater in the anatomic group in all domains (p ≤ .05). Controls had greater postoperative radiographic MTPJ angles than the cases, with no differences detected between the 2 groups in visual analog scale scores or proximal interphalangeal joint angles. The importance of restoration of the plantar plate and collateral ligament integrity as a digital stabilizer is generally accepted but has not been well studied. We found that anatomic reconstruction yielded greater digital stability, greater ACFAS Forefoot module scores, and better radiographic MTPJ alignment than controls. Additional studies are warranted to assess the long-term viability of anatomic lesser MTPJ reconstruction.
Level of Clinical Evidence: 3