The purpose of this study was to report the results of 52 combined subtalar and ankle arthrodesis using an intramedullary nail.

Retrospective review identified 49 patients who had 52 combined ankle and subtalar arthrodeses with an ACE retrograde locked intramedullary humeral nail (DePuy-Ace), Warsaw, IN). Most procedures included bone grafts from the fibula, proximal tibia, or iliac crest or femoral head allograft. Intraoperative complications included one fractured tibia and one fractured medial malleolus. The procedure was done mainly for the treatment of combined ankle and subtalar arthritis (31) or complex hindfoot deformities (12). Outcome was assessed by a combination of chart review, clinical examination, and telephone questionnaire. Followup averaged 34 (8 to 73) months.

At followup 82% of patients were satisfied with the results of surgery, 82% reported improvements in pain levels, and 67% reported improved foot function. The average postoperative American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) hindfoot score was 63. Postoperative complications included deep infection, amputation, stress fracture, nonunion, and prominent hardware.

Hindfoot arthrodesis with intramedullary nailing is an effective technique for treating complex foot deformities and often is the only alternative to amputation. Patient satisfaction is high, but the procedure is demanding and complications are frequent.

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