Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research®

, Volume 472, Issue 2, pp 750–758

Is Tibialis Anterior Tendon Transfer Effective for Recurrent Clubfoot?

  • Kelly Gray
  • Joshua Burns
  • David Little
  • Michael Bellemore
  • Paul Gibbons
Clinical Research



Tibialis anterior tendon transfer surgery forms a part of Ponseti management for children with congenital talipes equinovarus who, after initial correction, present with residual dynamic supination. Although retrospective studies support good outcomes, prospective longitudinal studies in this population are lacking.


We assessed strength, plantar loading, ROM, foot alignment, function, satisfaction, and quality of life in patients with clubfoot that recurred after Ponseti casting who met indications for tibialis anterior tendon transfer surgery, and compared them with a group of patients with clubfoot treated with casting but whose deformity did not recur (therefore who were not indicated for tibialis anterior tendon transfer surgery).


Twenty children with idiopathic congenital talipes equinovarus indicated for tibialis anterior tendon transfer surgery were recruited. Assessment at baseline (before surgery), and 3, 6, and 12 months (after surgery) included strength (hand-held dynamometry), plantar loading (capacitance transducer matrix platform), ROM (Dimeglio scale), foot alignment (Foot Posture Index©), function and satisfaction (disease-specific instrument for clubfoot), and quality of life (Infant Toddler Quality of Life Questionnaire™). Outcomes were compared with those of 12 age-matched children with congenital talipes equinovarus not indicated for tibialis anterior tendon transfer surgery. Followup was 100% in the control group and 95% (19 of 20) in the tibialis anterior transfer group.


At baseline, the tibialis anterior tendon transfer group had a significantly worse eversion-to-inversion strength ratio, plantar loading, ROM, foot alignment, and function and satisfaction. At 3 months after surgery, eversion-to-inversion strength, plantar loading, and function and satisfaction were no longer different between groups. Improvements were maintained at 12 months after surgery (eversion-to-inversion strength mean difference, 8% body weight; 95% CI, −26% to 11%; p = 0.412; plantar loading, p > 0.251; function and satisfaction, p = 0.076). ROM remained less and foot alignment more supinated in the tibialis anterior tendon transfer group between baseline and followup (p < 0.001, p < 0.001).


Tibialis anterior tendon transfer surgery was an effective procedure, which at 12-month followup restored the balance of eversion-to-inversion strength and resulted in plantar loading and function and satisfaction outcomes similar to those of age-matched children with congenital talipes equinovarus who after Ponseti casting were not indicated for tibialis anterior tendon transfer.

Level of Evidence

Level III, therapeutic study. See Instructions for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.


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Copyright information

© The Association of Bone and Joint Surgeons® 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelly Gray
    • 1
    • 2
  • Joshua Burns
    • 1
    • 2
  • David Little
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Bellemore
    • 1
    • 2
  • Paul Gibbons
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryThe Children’s Hospital at WestmeadWestmeadAustralia
  2. 2.The University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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