Tendon Achilles lengthening for the treatment of neuropathic ulcers causes a temporary reduction in forefoot pressure associated with changes in plantar flexor power rather than ankle motion during gait

K. S. Maluf, M. J. Mueller, M. J. Strube, J. R. Engsberg, J. E. Johnson

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73 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purposes of this study were to determine the effects of tendon Achilles lengthening (TAL) on ambulatory plantar pressures and ankle range of motion, moment, and power, and to determine whether changes in forefoot pressure after treatment of a neuropathic ulcer are related to changes in ankle dorsiflexion range of motion (DFROM) or plantar flexor (PF) power during gait. Pressure and gait tests were performed before treatment, and at 3 weeks and 8 months after treatment in two randomly assigned groups of subjects with diabetes, equinus deformity, and a neuropathic forefoot ulcer treated with TAL and total contact casting (TAL group, n=14), or total contact casting alone (TCC group, n=14). The TAL group had an initial decrease in forefoot peak pressure (PP) (27%), forefoot pressure-time integral (PTI) (42%), PF moment (53%), and PF power (65%), along with an initial increase in rear foot PP (34%), rear foot PTI (48%), and DFROM (74%). Post-surgical changes in rear foot pressure and DFROM were maintained up to 8 months after treatment with TAL, whereas forefoot pressure and PF moment and power increased significantly. Changes in forefoot pressure after treatment in either group were correlated with changes in PF power (r=0.45-0.60), but not with changes in DFROM during gait (r=-0.02-0.08). Results suggest TAL causes a temporary reduction in forefoot pressure primarily by reducing PF power during gait. The initial decrease in forefoot pressure, followed by progressive reloading of forefoot tissues as PF muscles regain strength after TAL, may help reduce the risk of ulcer recurrence in patients with diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)897-906
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Volume37
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2004

Keywords

  • Biomechanics
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Equinus deformity
  • Foot ulcer
  • Gait
  • Randomized controlled rial

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