Destruction of the normal metatarsal arch by a long metatarsal is often a cause for metatarsalgia. When surgery is warranted, distal oblique, or proximal dorsiflexion osteotomies of the long metatarsal bones are commonly used. The plantar fascia has anatomical connection to all metatarsal heads. There is controversial scientific evidence on the effect of plantar fascia release on forefoot biomechanics. In this cadaveric biomechanical study, we hypothesized that plantar fascia release would augment the plantar metatarsal pressure decreasing effects of two common second metatarsal osteotomy techniques. Six matched pairs of foot and ankle specimens were mounted on a pressure mat loading platform. Two randomly assigned surgery groups, which had received either distal oblique, or proximal dorsiflexion osteotomy of the second metatarsal, were evaluated before and after plantar fasciectomy. Specimens were loaded up to a ground reaction force of 400 N at varying Achilles tendon forces. Average pressures, peak pressures, and contact areas were analyzed. Supporting our hypothesis, average pressures under the second metatarsal during 600 N Achilles load were decreased by plantar fascia release following proximal osteotomy (p < 0.05). However contrary to our hypothesis, peak pressures under the second metatarsal were significantly increased by plantar fascia release following modified distal osteotomy, under multiple Achilles loading conditions (p < 0.05). Plantar fasciotomy should not be added to distal metatarsal osteotomy in the treatment of metatarsalgia. If proximal dorsiflexion osteotomy would be preferred, plantar fasciotomy should be approached cautiously not to disturb the forefoot biomechanics.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine