Lateral Column Lengthening for Flexible Flat Foot: Was It Short to Begin With?

Isr Med Assoc J. 2021 Aug;23(8):506-509.


Background: Flexible flatfoot (FF) is a common foot deformity that can often consist of foot pain. Surgical treatment is designed to lengthen the lateral column.

Objectives: To resolve whether radiographic standing feet measurements of normo-plantigrade feet and FF, symptomatic or not, differ and to determine whether the lateral column is shorter.

Methods: The study comprised 72 patients (127 feet) consecutive patients, 18 years of age and older, who were divided into three groups: normal feet (56), asymptomatic FF (29), and symptomatic FF (42). All patients had a standing anterior posterior (AP) and lateral radiographs. AP images were used for the measurement of the talocalcaneal angle, talar-1st metatarsal angle, and talonavicular coverage. Lateral X-rays were used to estimate the talocalcaneal angle, talar-1st metatarsal angle, calcaneal pitch, naviculocuboid overlap, and column ratio.

Results: All three of the AP radiograph measurements differed among groups, and higher values were measured in the symptomatic FF group. Post hoc analysis found that the talonavicular coverage and the talocalcaneal angles also differed between symptomatic and asymptomatic FF patients. While some lateral measurements differed within groups, only the lateral talar-1st metatarsal angle distinguished between asymptomatic and symptomatic patients. The lateral column length was not found to be shorter among FF patients, weather symptomatic or not.

Conclusions: Only the talonavicular coverage, the AP talocalcaneal, and the lateral talar-1st metatarsal angles were found to differ between asymptomatic and symptomatic FF patients. The lateral column was not found to be shorter.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anthropometry / methods
  • Asymptomatic Diseases*
  • Correlation of Data
  • Female
  • Flatfoot* / diagnostic imaging
  • Flatfoot* / physiopathology
  • Flatfoot* / surgery
  • Foot Deformities, Congenital / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metatarsal Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Pain* / diagnosis
  • Pain* / etiology
  • Patient Positioning / methods
  • Radiography / methods*
  • Subtalar Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Symptom Assessment / methods
  • Talus / abnormalities
  • Talus / diagnostic imaging

Supplementary concepts

  • Talonavicular coalition