Background: Functional loss and clinical evidence of hallux malalignment have been reported to follow isolated tibial sesamoidectomy.
Methods: Thirty-two patients with isolated tibial sesamoidectomies were identified. Patients with a diagnosis of peripheral neuropathy, diabetes mellitus, inflammatory arthropathy or previous foot surgery were excluded as were patients who had concomitant joint realignment procedures. Twenty patients were available for followup with the Short Form-36 (SF-36), Foot Function Index (FFI) disability scale, visual analog scale (VAS), and questionnaire at an average of 62 (range 10 to 157) months after surgery. Fourteen patients returned for physical examination, radiographs, and pedographic and isokinetic examination.
Results: Physical examination of the 14 patients did not reveal any significant change in clinical alignment, range of motion or tenderness. Preoperative and postoperative comparison radiographs did not reveal significant differences in the intermetatarsal (IM) angle, hallux valgus (HV) angle distal metatarsal articular angle (DMAA), or sesamoid alignment (sesamoid station). Postoperative outcome measurements (VAS, SF36, and FFI) for 20 patients found significant relief of pain and improved functional outcome. Computerized dynamic pedographic measurements (Performance Orthotic) for 12 patients did not reveal any altered plantar pressures in the region of the hallux metatarsophalangeal joint. Isokinetic measurements of ankle plantar flexion push-off strength in eight patients did not reveal significant differences in side-to-side measurements. Eighteen of 20 (90%) patients indicated that they were able to resume all preoperative activities; six (30%) had extreme difficulty or an inability to stand on tip toe, but this did not impact their activities of daily living or their athletic endeavors. Two patients (14.3%) developed transfer metatarsalgia, but only one was symptomatic.
Conclusion: Isolated tibial sesamoidectomy is a safe and effective treatment for recalcitrant tibial sesamoiditis. Hallux malalignment and deformity resulting in functional loss and change in hallux alignment can be avoided by meticulous surgical technique with repair of the soft tissues.