Outcomes of the bridle procedure for the treatment of foot drop

Jeffrey E. Johnson, E. Scott Paxton, Julienne Lippe, Kathryn L. Bohnert, David R. Sinacore, Mary K. Hastings, Jeremy J. McCormick, Sandra E. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: The purpose of this study was to determine the clinical outcomes and objective measures of function that can be expected for patients following the Bridle procedure (modification of the posterior tibial tendon transfer) for the treatment of foot drop. Methods: Nineteen patients treated with a Bridle procedure and 10 matched controls were evaluated. The Bridle group had preoperative and 2-year postoperative radiographic foot alignment measurements and completion of the Foot and Ankle Ability Measure. At follow-up, both groups were tested for standing balance (star excursion test) and for ankle plantarflexion and dorsiflexion isokinetic strength, and the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society and Stanmore outcome measures were collected only on the Bridle patients. Results: There was no change in radiographic foot alignment from pre- to postoperative measurement. Foot and Ankle Ability Measure subscales of activities of daily living and sport, American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, and Stanmore scores were all reduced in Bridle patients as compared with controls. Single-limb standing-balance reaching distance in the anterolateral and posterolateral directions were reduced in Bridle participants as compared with controls (P <.03). Isokinetic ankle dorsiflexion and plantarflexion strength was lower in Bridle participants (2 ± 4 ft·lb, 44 ± 16 ft·lb) as compared with controls (18 ± 13 ft·lb, 65 ± 27 ft·lb, P <.02, respectively). All Bridle participants reported excellent to good outcomes and would repeat the operation. No patient wore an ankle-foot orthosis for everyday activities. Conclusion: The Bridle procedure was a successful surgery that did not restore normal strength and balance to the foot and ankle but allowed individuals with foot drop and a functional tibialis posterior muscle to have significantly improved outcomes and discontinue the use of an ankle-foot orthosis. In addition, there was no indication that loss of the normal function of the tibialis posterior muscle resulted in change in foot alignment 2 years after surgery. Level of Evidence: Level III, retrospective comparative series.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1287-1296
Number of pages10
JournalFoot and Ankle International
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • bridle
  • foot drop
  • peroneal nerve
  • tendon transfer
  • tibialis posterior tendon


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