Ankle joint pressure changes in a pes cavovarus model: supramalleolar valgus osteotomy versus lateralizing calcaneal osteotomy

Schmid, Timo Georg Johannes; Zurbriggen, Sebastian; Zderic, I.; Gueorguiev, B.; Weber, M.; Krause, Fabian (2013). Ankle joint pressure changes in a pes cavovarus model: supramalleolar valgus osteotomy versus lateralizing calcaneal osteotomy. Foot & ankle international, 34(9), pp. 1190-1197. Sage 10.1177/1071100713500473

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A fixed cavovarus foot deformity can be associated with anteromedial ankle arthrosis due to elevated medial joint contact stresses. Supramalleolar valgus osteotomies (SMOT) and lateralizing calcaneal osteotomies (LCOT) are commonly used to treat symptoms by redistributing joint contact forces. In a cavovarus model, the effects of SMOT and LCOT on the lateralization of the center of force (COF) and reduction of the peak pressure in the ankle joint were compared.


A previously published cavovarus model with fixed hindfoot varus was simulated in 10 cadaver specimens. Closing wedge supramalleolar valgus osteotomies 3 cm above the ankle joint level (6 and 11 degrees) and lateral sliding calcaneal osteotomies (5 and 10 mm displacement) were analyzed at 300 N axial static load (half body weight). The COF migration and peak pressure decrease in the ankle were recorded using high-resolution TekScan pressure sensors.


A significant lateral COF shift was observed for each osteotomy: 2.1 mm for the 6 degrees (P = .014) and 2.3 mm for the 11 degrees SMOT (P = .010). The 5 mm LCOT led to a lateral shift of 2.0 mm (P = .042) and the 10 mm LCOT to a shift of 3.0 mm (P = .006). Comparing the different osteotomies among themselves no significant differences were recorded. No significant anteroposterior COF shift was seen. A significant peak pressure reduction was recorded for each osteotomy: The SMOT led to a reduction of 29% (P = .033) for the 6 degrees and 47% (P = .003) for the 11 degrees osteotomy, and the LCOT to a reduction of 41% (P = .003) for the 5 mm and 49% (P = .002) for the 10 mm osteotomy. Similar to the COF lateralization no significant differences between the osteotomies were seen.


LCOT and SMOT significantly reduced anteromedial ankle joint contact stresses in this cavovarus model. The unloading effects of both osteotomies were equivalent. More correction did not lead to significantly more lateralization of the COF or more reduction of peak pressure but a trend was seen.


In patients with fixed cavovarus feet, both SMOT and LCOT provided equally good redistribution of elevated ankle joint contact forces. Increasing the amount of displacement did not seem to equally improve the joint pressures. The site of osteotomy could therefore be chosen on the basis of surgeon's preference, simplicity, or local factors in case of more complex reconstructions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Orthopaedic, Plastic and Hand Surgery (DOPH) > Clinic of Orthopaedic Surgery

UniBE Contributor:

Schmid, Timo Georg Johannes, Krause, Fabian


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Stephanie Schmutz

Date Deposited:

24 Jan 2014 09:26

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:27

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

hindfoot varus, joint contact stress, supramalleolar, osteotomy, calcaneal osteotomy, sensor measurement




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