Foot & Ankle Orthopaedics (2020-07-01)

Comparing First Metatarsophalangeal Joint Flexibility in Hallux Rigidus Patients Pre- and Postcheilectomy Using a Novel Flexibility Device

  • Jensen K. Henry MD,
  • Andrew Kraszewski PhD,
  • Lauren Volpert BA,
  • Elizabeth Cody MD,
  • Howard Hillstrom PhD,
  • Scott J. Ellis MD

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 5


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Background: Hallux rigidus (HR) is a common pathology of the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint causing pain and stiffness. However, severity of symptoms and radiographic findings are not always concordant. A novel flexibility device, which measures the mobility of the MTP joint through its arc of motion, has been validated. This study compares flexibility in patients before and after cheilectomy (with or without proximal phalanx osteotomy) for HR. Methods: This is a single-center study of adult patients with HR who were indicated for cheilectomy or cheilectomy and Moberg (dorsiflexion closing wedge) osteotomy of the proximal phalanx based on symptoms and radiographs from 2013 to 2015. Pre- and postoperatively, patients underwent testing with a validated flexibility protocol to generate flexibility curves. Parameters included early and late flexibility, laxity torque, and laxity angle. Patients completed Foot and Ankle Outcomes Scores (FAOS) pre- and postoperatively. Twelve operative patients underwent preoperative testing, with 9 completing postoperative testing (mean age, 53.0 years; 67% female; mean 2.8-year follow-up). Results: Patients had significant improvements in early sitting and standing flexibility, sitting and standing laxity angles, standing laxity torque, and both sitting and standing maximum dorsiflexion after surgery (all P .279). FAOS scores for pain, symptoms, sport, and quality improved significantly after surgery. Conclusion: Surgical treatment with cheilectomy was associated with significant improvements in nearly all flexibility parameters for sitting and standing positions. However, most postoperative flexibility parameters did not improve to the level of normal controls. Regardless, patients still experienced significant improvements in outcomes. This study demonstrated that surgical correction is associated with significant biomechanical and clinical results. The flexibility device can be used in further studies to assess outcomes after other HR procedures. Level of Evidence: Level II, prospective comparative study.