Drop foot after high tibial osteotomy: a prospective study of aetiological factors

  • T. Bauer
  • P. Hardy
  • J. Lemoine
  • D. F. Finlayson
  • S. Tranier
  • A. Lortat-Jacob


Drop foot is not uncommon after high tibial osteotomy for genu varum. The authors report their results of a prospective study of 16 patients operated on between May 1990 and May 1991. All patients had medial femoro-tibial osteoarthritis with a constitutional genu varum. They all had a subtraction valgus high tibial osteotomy fixed by a blade plate. The experimental protocol included clinical review, antero-lateral compartment pressure measurements, intra- and post-operative electromyography, assessment of the post-operative drainage, serum estimation of muscle ensymes and post-operative arteriography. From their own results and a literature review, the authors consider successively the different aetiological factors for post-operative drop foot. Certain deficits occur due to direct trauma on the nerve during high osteotomy of the fibula, by local high pressure due to poor haemostasis or ineffective drainage. In addition, there are several related phenomena. The pneumatic tourniquet ssensitises the nerve to trauma, and stretching of the nerve during correction of the deformation depends on the local anatomical factors and their marked variation. In order to diminish the frequency of these post-operative complications, the authors suggest limiting the surgical approach, and limiting as far as possible the traumatic manoeuvres on the nerve by using a tibial resection jig, which allows correction without forced manoeuvres. Finally, the authors discuss the benefits of using a pneumatic tourniquet.


High tibial osteotomy Drop foot Compartment syndrome Common peroneal nerve 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Bauer
    • 1
  • P. Hardy
    • 1
  • J. Lemoine
    • 1
  • D. F. Finlayson
    • 1
  • S. Tranier
    • 1
  • A. Lortat-Jacob
    • 1
  1. 1.Service de Chirurgie Orthopédique et TraumatologiqueFaculté de Médecine Paris Ile-de-France Ouest, Hôpital Ambroise ParéBoulogneFrance

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