The effect on ankle dorsiflexion of gastrocnemius recession

Foot Ankle Int. 2002 Jan;23(1):26-9. doi: 10.1177/107110070202300105.


Gastrocnemius equinus contracture has been suggested as an etiologic factor in mechanical diseases of the foot and ankle and in ulcer formation in the foot. The purpose of this study is to assess the correction in ankle dorsiflexion that can be achieved with a gastrocnemius recession. An isolated gastrocnemius release (Strayer procedure) was performed on 26 legs, in 20 consecutive patients, for clinically significant gastrocnemius equinus contracture. Ankle dorsiflexion was assessed using a validated electrogoniometer. Ankle dorsiflexion was recorded with the knee straight and with the knee bent. Measurements were recorded preoperatively, and immediately postoperatively. Measurements at an average of 55.0 days postsurgery (range, 37 to 128 days) were performed on 20 legs (15 patients).

Results: Average preoperative ankle dorsiflexion with the knee straight was 5.1 degrees. Average preoperative ankle dorsiflexion with the knee bent was 22.8 degrees. Immediately following surgery the average ankle dorsiflexion with the knee straight was 23.2 degrees. The average correction was 18.1 degrees and this increase was significant (p < 0.0001.) In the 15 patients (20 legs) available for follow-up, the increase in ankle dorsiflexion with the knee straight was maintained (average: 24.9 degrees). Patients with gastrocnemius contracture who underwent an isolated gastrocnemius release increased their ankle dorsiflexion (knee straight) by an average of 18.1 degrees with postoperative ankle dorsiflexion (knee straight) being equivalent (23.2 and 22.8 degrees) to preoperative ankle dorsiflexion (knee bent). This correction appears to be maintained (23.2 vs. 24.9 degrees) at short-term follow-up.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology*
  • Ankle Joint / surgery*
  • Contracture / physiopathology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Muscle, Skeletal / surgery*
  • Range of Motion, Articular*
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome