Author(s): Flavin R, Coleman SC, Tenenbaum S, Brodsky JW
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Prior studies reported improved gait after total ankle arthroplasty and better parameters of gait than those reported in earlier studies of patients after ankle arthrodesis. However, there are very limited data prospectively evaluating the effects on gait after ankle arthroplasty compared with ankle arthrodesis. Controversy remains regarding the relative advantages and disadvantages of these 2 treatments and especially the differences in function between them. METHODS: We performed a prospective study involving 28 patients with posttraumatic and primary ankle osteoarthritis and a control group of 14 normal volunteers. We compared gait in 14 patients who had undergone ankle arthrodesis with the gait of 14 patients who had ankle arthroplasty preoperatively and at 1 year postoperatively. Three-dimensional gait analysis was performed with a 12-camera digital-motion capture system. Temporospatial measurements included stride length and cadence. The kinematic parameters that were measured included the sagittal plane range of motion of the ankle and the coronal plane range of motion of the ankle. Double force plates were used to collect kinetic parameters such as ankle coronal and plantar flexion-dorsiflexion moments and sagittal plane ankle power. Center of pressure (CoP) and its progression in gait cycle were calculated. RESULTS: Baseline parameters showed comparability among the treatment and control groups. Temporospatial analysis, using time as the main effect, showed that compared with ankle arthrodesis, patients with total ankle arthroplasty had higher walking velocity attributable to both increases in stride length and cadence as well as more normalized first and second rockers of the gait cycle. Kinematic analysis, using time and intervention as the main effects, showed that patients who had ankle arthroplasty had better sagittal dorsiflexion (P = .001), whereas those undergoing ankle arthrodesis had better coronal plane eversion (P = .01). Neither ankle arthrodesis nor arthroplasty altered the CoP progression during stance phase. Total ankle arthroplasty produced a more symmetrical vertical ground reaction force curve, which was closer to that of the controls than was the curve of the ankle arthrodesis group. CONCLUSIONS: Patients in both the arthrodesis and arthroplasty groups had significant improvements in various parameters of gait when compared with their own preoperative function. Neither group functioned as well as the normal control subjects. Neither group was superior in every parameter of gait at 1 year postoperatively. However, the data suggest that the major parameters of gait after ankle arthrodesis in deformed ankle arthritis are comparable to gait function after total ankle arthroplasty in nondeformed ankle arthritis. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Level II, prospective comparative study.
This article was published in Foot Ankle Int
and referenced in Journal of Arthritis