We report the outcomes of 20 patients (12 men, 8 women, 21 feet) with Charcot neuroarthropathy who underwent correction of deformities of the ankle and hindfoot using retrograde intramedullary nail arthrodesis. The mean age of the patients was 62.6 years (46 to 83); their mean BMI was 32.7 (15 to 47) and their median American Society of Anaesthetists score was 3 (2 to 4). All presented with severe deformities and 15 had chronic ulceration. All were treated with reconstructive surgery and seven underwent simultaneous midfoot fusion using a bolt, locking plate or a combination of both. At a mean follow-up of 26 months (8 to 54), limb salvage was achieved in all patients and 12 patients (80%) with ulceration achieved healing and all but one patient regained independent mobilisation. There was failure of fixation with a broken nail requiring revision surgery in one patient. Migration of distal locking screws occurred only when standard screws had been used but not with hydroxyapatite-coated screws. The mean American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Foot and Ankle (AAOS-FAO) score improved from 50.7 (17 to 88) to 65.2 (22 to 88), (p = 0.015). The mean Short Form (SF)-36 Health Survey Physical Component Score improved from 25.2 (16.4 to 42.8) to 29.8 (17.7 to 44.2), (p = 0.003) and the mean Euroqol EQ-5D-5L score improved from 0.63 (0.51 to 0.78) to 0.67 (0.57 to 0.84), (p = 0.012).
Single-stage correction of deformity using an intramedullary hindfoot arthrodesis nail is a good form of treatment for patients with severe Charcot hindfoot deformity, ulceration and instability provided a multidisciplinary care plan is delivered.