Vitamin D Status in an Elective Orthopedic Surgical Population

Foot Ankle Int. 2016 Feb;37(2):186-91. doi: 10.1177/1071100715609054. Epub 2015 Oct 1.


Background: Adequate vitamin D availability is required for normal bone metabolism. Hypovitaminosis D is highly prevalent in latitudes above 30 degrees. The goal of this prospective study was to determine the prevalence of hypovitaminosis D in an unselected population of patients undergoing major ankle or hindfoot arthrodesis in Burlington, Vermont (latitude 44.5° N).

Methods: One hundred eighteen patients undergoing a major ankle, hindfoot, or midfoot arthrodesis between May 2012 and February 2014 were eligible for the study, of which 81 participated. All clinical data, including comorbidities, demographics, and lab values, were obtained from the comprehensive electronic medical record system that encompassed all inpatient and outpatient care. Based on the recommendations published by the Vitamin D Task Force Committee of the Endocrine Society, vitamin D levels above 30 ng/mL were considered normal. Statistical analyses were performed using a significance level of P <.05.

Results: Of 81 patients tested, 54 (67%) had low serum vitamin D. Older patients had lower risk for hypovitaminosis D (RR = 0.953, CI = 0.908, 0.999, P = .046), whereas a Charlson Index ≥3 had increased risk (RR = 16.8, CI = 1.5, 192.3, P = .023). Of the 16 patients retested after vitamin supplementation, only 9 (56%) corrected to normal.

Conclusions: In an unselected population in Vermont undergoing hindfoot and ankle arthrodesis, there was a high prevalence of hypovitaminosis D, even in patients without predisposing risk factors. Consequently, routine testing or presumptive high-dose vitamin D replenishment therapy should be considered for all patients scheduled for such surgery, primarily to promote adequate skeletal calcium metabolism.

Level of evidence: Level II, prospective study.

Keywords: arthritis; diabetes; outcome studies.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Ankle Joint / surgery
  • Arthrodesis*
  • Comorbidity
  • Elective Surgical Procedures
  • Female
  • Foot Joints / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vitamin D / blood*
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / diagnosis*


  • Vitamin D