Minimally invasive soft tissue release of foot and ankle contracture secondary to stroke
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Lower extremity contracture associated with stroke commonly results in a nonreducible, spastic equinovarus deformity of the foot and ankle. Rigid contracture deformity leads to gait instability, pain, bracing difficulties, and ulcerations. The classic surgical approach for stroke-related contracture of the foot and ankle has been combinations of tendon lengthening, tendon transfer, osteotomy, and joint fusion procedures. Recovery after traditional foot and ankle reconstructive surgery requires a period of non-weightbearing that is not typically practical for these patients. Little focus has been given in published studies on minimally invasive soft tissue release of contracture. We present the case of a 61-year-old female with an equinovarus foot contracture deformity secondary to stroke. The patient underwent Achilles tendon lengthening, posterior tibial tendon Z lengthening, and digital flexor tenotomy of each toe with immediate weightbearing in a walking boot, followed by transition to an ankle-foot orthosis. The surgical principles and technique tips are presented to demonstrate our minimally invasive approach to release of foot and ankle contracture secondary to stroke. The main goal of this approach is to improve foot and ankle alignment for ease of bracing, which, in turn, will improve gait, reduce the risk of falls, decrease pain, and avoid the development of pressure sores.
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