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Open Access Research article

Bony destructive injuries of the calcaneus: long-term results of a minimally invasive procedure followed by early functional exercise: a retrospective study

Yanling Su, Wei Chen, Qi Zhang, Song Liu, Tao Zhang and Yingze Zhang*

Author Affiliations

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, the Third Hospital of Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang, Hebei 050051, P.R. China

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BMC Surgery 2014, 14:19  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-14-19

Published: 11 April 2014

Abstract

Background

Bony destructive injury of the calcaneus (BDIC) represents one of the most severe comminuted fractures of the calcaneus in which soft tissue coverage remains intact. The features of this injury include a collapsed articular surface, significant widening, severe loss of height and an unrecognisable outline of the calcaneus. This study aims to present the long-term outcomes of BDIC treated in a minimally invasive fashion followed by supervised early exercise.

Methods

Twelve patients with unilateral BDICs were treated at our institution. The main surgical procedures included percutaneous traction and leverage reduction and internal compression fixation with anatomic plates and compression bolts. Early functional exercise was encouraged to mould the subtalar joint. The height, length and width of the calcaneus; Böhler’s and Gissane’s angles; reduction of the articular surfaces; and functional recovery of the affected feet were assessed.

Results

The height, length and width of the calcaneus were substantially restored. The mean Böhler’s and Gissane’s angles of the affected calcaneus were 24.5 and 122.8 degrees, respectively. Five patients regained anatomical or nearly anatomical reduction of their posterior facets. Residual articular displacement of more than 3 mm was noted in three patients. Patients were followed for a mean of 93.9 months. The mean American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society score was 83.8. Nine patients showed excellent or good results. Radiographic evidence of post-traumatic subtalar arthritis was observed in four cases. However, no subtalar arthrodesis was required.

Conclusions

BDICs can be treated effectively with percutaneous reduction and internal compression fixation followed by early active exercise. This protocol resulted in satisfactory radiological and functional outcomes.

Keywords:
Calcaneal fracture; Bony destructive injury; Internal compression fixation; Percutaneous leverage; Early exercise