Adult acquired flatfoot deformity (AAFD) is a complex and progressive deformity involving the ligamentous structures of the medial peritalar joints. Recent anatomic studies demonstrated that the spring and deltoid ligaments form a greater medial ligament complex, the tibiocalcaneonavicular ligament (TCNL), which provides medial stability to the talonavicular, subtalar, and tibiotalar joints. The aim of this study was to assess the biomechanical effect of a spring ligament tear on the peritalar stability. The secondary aim was to assess the effect of TCNL reconstruction in restoration of peritalar stability in comparison with other medial stabilization procedures, anatomic spring or deltoid ligament reconstructions, in a cadaveric flatfoot model.
Ten fresh-frozen cadaveric foot specimens were used. Reflective markers were mounted on the tibia, talus, navicular, calcaneus, and first metatarsal. Peritalar joint kinematics were captured by a multiple-camera motion capture system. Mild, moderate, and severe flatfoot models were created by sequential sectioning of medial capsuloligament complex followed by cyclic axial loading. Spring only, deltoid only, and combined deltoid-spring ligament (TCNL) reconstructions were performed. The relative kinematic changes were compared using 2-way analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Compared with the initial condition, we noted significantly increased valgus alignment of the subtalar joint of 5.1 ± 2.3 degrees (P = .031) and 5.8 ± 2.7 degrees (P < .01) with increased size of the spring ligament tear to create moderate to severe flatfoot, respectively. We noted an increased tibiotalar valgus angle of 5.1 ± 2.0 degrees (P = .03) in the severe model. Although all medial ligament reconstruction methods were able to correct forefoot abduction, the TCNL reconstruction was able to correct both the subtalar and tibiotalar valgus deformity (P = .04 and P = .02, respectively).
The TCNL complex provided stability to the talonavicular, subtalar, and tibiotalar joints. The combined deltoid-spring ligament (TCNL) reconstructions restored peritalar kinematics better than isolated spring or deltoid ligament reconstruction in the severe AAFD model.
The combined deltoid-spring ligament (TCNL) reconstruction maybe considered in advanced AAFD with medial peritalar instability: stage IIB with a large spring ligament tear or stage IV.