Function and strength following gastrocnemius recession for isolated gastrocnemius contracture

Foot Ankle Int. 2010 May;31(5):377-84. doi: 10.3113/FAI.2010.0377.


Background: Isolated gastrocnemius contracture (IGC), which limits ankle dorsiflexion with full knee extension, can affect function and quality of life. Gastrocnemius recession is a treatment option for IGC when conservative treatment fails. The goal of this study was to assess range of motion, function, and plantarflexion strength pre- and 3-months post-gastrocnemius recession for subjects with IGC.

Materials and methods: Ankle range of motion, function, and plantarflexion strength in seven legs (four subjects), clinically diagnosed with IGC, before and after surgery were compared to matched control subjects to elucidate pre- and post-surgical intervention differences. All subjects with IGC were also diagnosed with plantar fasciitis with one leg having an additional diagnosis of metatarsalgia.

Results: Subjects with IGC had significant post surgical improvements at 3 months after surgery in dorsiflexion range of motion (p = 0.016), function (p = 0.016) and isokinetic plantarflexion strength (p = 0.018).

Conclusions: Surgical recession enhanced range of motion and self reported function while not inducing any detrimental effects to plantarflexion strength at a 3-month followup. Post-surgically IGC subjects were more similar to healthy controls.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Contracture / diagnosis
  • Contracture / physiopathology*
  • Contracture / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / surgery*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Treatment Outcome