Proximal Intermetatarsal Divergence in Distal Chevron Osteotomy for Hallux Valgus: An Overlooked Finding

J Foot Ankle Surg. 2016 May-Jun;55(3):504-8. doi: 10.1053/j.jfas.2016.01.043. Epub 2016 Feb 26.


The goal of distal chevron osteotomy for hallux valgus is to restore proper first-toe joint alignment by performing lateral translation of the distal first metatarsal fragment (the metatarsal head). We hypothesized that in some patients this procedure might also result in involuntary medial translation of the proximal first metatarsal fragment, which we called proximal intermetatarsal divergence. The aim of the present study was to compare the pre- and postoperative radiographs of patients with hallux valgus to determine whether we could identify proximal intermetatarsal divergence. We retrospectively compared the pre- and postoperative radiographs of 29 feet in 28 patients treated with distal chevron osteotomy. Two different methods were used to measure the intermetatarsal angles: the anatomic intermetatarsal angle (aIMA) and the mechanical intermetatarsal angle (mIMA). The maximum intermetatarsal distance (MID) was also measured. We defined proximal intermetatarsal divergence as a postoperative increase in the aIMA or MID, coupled with a decrease in the mIMA. For data analysis, we divided the patients into low-angle (mild deformity) and high-angle (severe deformity) groups, according to their preoperative mIMA. The mean ± standard deviation patient age was 41 ± 14 years. In the low-angle group, the mean mIMA decreased (from 10.91° to 7.00°), the mean aIMA increased (from 11.80° to 13.55°), and the mean MID increased (from 17.97 mm to 20.60 mm; p = .001, for all). In the high-angle group, the mean mIMA decreased (from 14.30° to 6.90°; p = .001), the mean aIMA decreased (from 14.77° to 13.54°; p = .06), and the mean MID decreased (from 20.74 mm to 20.37 mm; p = .64). The results of our study suggest that proximal intermetatarsal divergence might occur after distal chevron osteotomy for hallux valgus, primarily in patients with a low preoperative mIMA.

Keywords: anatomic intermetatarsal angle; chevron osteotomy; hallux valgus; mechanical intermetatarsal angle; proximal intermetatarsal divergence; sesamoid bone.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hallux Valgus / diagnostic imaging
  • Hallux Valgus / pathology
  • Hallux Valgus / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metatarsal Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Metatarsal Bones / pathology*
  • Metatarsal Bones / surgery
  • Osteotomy / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging*
  • Radiography
  • Retrospective Studies