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.