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7th Congress of the European Federation of National Associations of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Lisbon - 4-7 June, 2005


Aims: Neuregenic osteoarthropathy often results in a deformity of the foot needing surgical intervention. Indications for surgery are reulcerations, deep infections and decompensation of the static structure of the foot architecture. External fixation is a promising technique for correction.

Methods: Between 1997 and 2003, 65 feet which could be examined retrospectively, were operated for neuroarthropathy in 21 women and 43 men. A diabetic polyneuropathy was present in 56 patients. In 59 cases, an external fixation was used while in nine cases Steinmann pins were used. Follow-up treatment consisted of mobilisation in a ankle-foot-orthosis (AFO) for up to a year.

Results: For diabetics, the mean duration of the disease was 24.8 years (Type 1) and 13.7 years (Type 2). All feet were at a stage 3 or 4 according to Levin and were classified as types II–V according to Sanders. In five cases there was luxation alone was observed, another nine cases exhibited a combination of luxation and osseous changes. Surgical revision was necessary in seven cases, sometimes repeatedly. As the illness progressed additional operations were necessary in 13 times. It became necessary in six cases due to loss of correction. The fitting of a prosthesis was necessary in two patients (three feet) following amputation. The mean duration was 752 days. Pin infections and disturbances in wound healing were commonly observed but could be treated successfully by conservative means. The occurrence of this complication was independent of previous ulcerations or infections. Within the first year after operation, 13.9% of the feet developed an ulcer. All of the patients could be mobilised with the help of an orthosis (47 cases) or orthopedic shoes (15 cases)

Conclusions: External fixation is a suitable and variable method for correcting malalignment of the foot in cases of neuroarthropathy. It has a low complication rate and can be used for rapidly developing as well as non-progressing osteoarthropathies. In general, a fibrous ankylosis is the result of treatment, which allows pain free mobilisation under full whight bearing. In suitable cases, with a good alignment of the foot and good patient cooperation, the use of the AFO can be changed to orthopedic shoes after about 12 months.

Theses abstracts were prepared by Professor Roger Lemaire. Correspondence should be addressed to EFORT Central Office, Freihofstrasse 22, CH-8700 Küsnacht, Switzerland.