Soft tissue release combined with joint-sparing osteotomy for treatment of cavovarus foot deformity in older children: Analysis of 21 cases.


Cavovarus foot is a common form of foot deformity in children, which is clinically characterized by an abnormal increase of the longitudinal arch of the foot, and it can be simultaneously complicated with forefoot pronation and varus, rearfoot varus, Achilles tendon contracture, or cock-up toe deformity. Muscle force imbalance is the primary cause of such deformity. Many diseases can lead to muscle force imbalance, such as tethered cord syndrome, cerebral palsy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, and trauma. At present, many surgical treatments are available for cavovarus foot. For older children, priority should be given to midfoot osteotomy and fusion. Since complications such as abnormal foot length, foot stiffness, and abnormal gait tend to develop postoperatively, it is important to preserve the joints and correct the deformity as much as possible. Adequate soft tissue release and muscle balance are the keys to correcting the deformity and avoiding its postoperative recurrence.


To assess the efficacy of soft tissue release combined with joint-sparing osteotomy in the treatment of cavovarus foot deformity in older children.


The clinical data of 21 older children with cavovarus foot deformity (28 feet) who were treated surgically at the Ninth Department of Orthopedics of Jizhong Energy Xingtai Mining Group General Hospital from November 2014 to July 2017 were retrospectively analyzed. The patients ranged in age from 10 to 14 years old, with an average age of 12.46 ± 1.20 years. Their main clinical manifestations were deformity, pain, and gait abnormality. The patients underwent magnetic resonance imaging of the lumbar spine, electromyographic examination, weight-bearing anteroposterior and lateral X-rays of the feet, and the Coleman block test. Surgical procedures including metatarsal fascia release, Achilles tendon or medial gastrocnemius lengthening, “V”-shaped osteotomy on the dorsal side of the metatarsal base, opening medial cuneiform wedge osteotomy, closing cuboid osteotomy, anterior transfer of the posterior tibial tendon, peroneus longus-to-brevis transfer, and calcaneal sliding osteotomy to correct hindfoot varus deformity were performed. After surgery, long leg plaster casts were applied, the plaster casts were removed 6 wk later, Kirschner wires were removed, and functional exercise was initiated. The patients began weight-bearing walk 3 mo after surgery. Therapeutic effects were evaluated using the Wicart grading system, and Meary’s angles and Hibbs’ angles were measured based on X-ray images obtained preoperatively and at last follow-up to assess their changes.


The patients were followed for 6 to 32 mo, with an average follow-up period of 17.68 ± 6.290 mo. Bone healing at the osteotomy site was achieved at 3 mo in all cases. According to the Wicart grading system, very good results were achieved in 18 feet, good in 7, and fair in 3, with a very good/good rate of 89.3%. At last follow-up, mean Meary’s angle was 6.36° ± 1.810°, and mean Hibbs’ angle was 160.21° ± 4.167°, both of which were significantly improved compared with preoperative values (24.11° ± 2.948° and 135.86° ± 5.345°, respectively; P < 0.001 for both). No complications such as infection, skin necrosis, or bone nonunion occurred.


Soft tissue release combined with joint-sparing osteotomy has appreciated efficacy in the treatment of cavovarus foot deformity in older children.

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