Decompressive Medial Cuneiform Exostectomy for Resistant Tibialis Anterior Insertional Tendinopathy

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Abstract

Distal tibialis anterior tendinopathy, as a clinical entity, has only recently been documented in foot and ankle studies. We report our experience with medial cuneiform decompressive exostectomy and superficial tendon debridement in 14 cases of recalcitrant tibilalis anterior insertional pain. We reviewed 13 patients (14 feet; 12 females, 1 male; mean age 67.9 ± 7.5; range 55 to 80 years) in whom conservative treatment had failed who had undergone debridement of the insertional tibialis anterior tendon and decompressive exostectomy of the medial cuneiform. Pre- and postoperative American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) midfoot scale and visual analog scale (VAS) pain scores, local clinical findings, and dorsiflexion power at an average follow-up period of 28 ± 17.9 (range 6 to 55) months were assessed. All patients had experienced burning, nocturnal, medial midfoot pain and disability. The symptom longevity preoperatively was 8.5 ± 3.1 (range 6 to 17) months. Peritendinous or intrasubstance signal changes were noted on magnetic resonance imaging in 10 feet (71%). The mean preoperative VAS pain score was 8.7 ± 1.3 (range 5 to10), whereas postoperative it was 0.4 ± 0.5 (range 0 to1) (p = .001). The mean preoperative and postoperative AOFAS midfoot scale score was 54 ± 14.5 (range 20 to 70) and 91 ± 6.8 (range 79 to 100), respectively (p = .001). Postoperative ankle dorsiflexion power was normal and local tenderness had resolved in all patients. One patient (7.1%) stumbled at 2 weeks, resulting in avulsion of the tibialis anterior tendon, requiring transosseous fixation and gastrocnemius recession. All patients reported satisfaction with the surgical outcome and willingness to undergo the surgery again if necessary. A combination of medial cuneiform mechanical decompression and insertional tendon debridement can offer successful outcomes in resistant insertional tibialis anterior tendinopathy.

Level of Clinical Evidence: 4

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