Plantar forefoot ulceration with equinus deformity of the ankle in diabetic patients: the effect of tendo-Achilles lengthening and total contact casting

Orthopedics. 1996 May;19(5):465-75. doi: 10.3928/0147-7447-19960501-18.


Between 1993 and 1995, 93 neuropathic diabetes mellitus patients with foot ulcers underwent a total contact cast (TCC) protocol. A randomly chosen group of 21 patients (Group I) demonstrated ulcer healing in a mean time of 43.5 days. Despite 9 weeks of TCC, 15 patients (Group II) with forefoot ulcers failed to heal. Physical examination of Group I revealed plantarflexion/dorsiflexion range of motion of the ankle of 33.8 degrees / 1.9 degrees compared to 32.3 degrees / -10.5 degrees of Group II, demonstrating an ankle equinus deformity and limited joint motion. Group II patients underwent a correction of the equinus deformity with percutaneous tendo-Achilles lengthening (TAL), followed by a TCC. All but one ulcer (93.3%) healed within 39.4 days. Four (19.0%) ulcers recurred (at the same site) in Group I, compared to none in Group II at the latest follow up of 17.3 months. Surgical correction with percutaneous TAL and TCC results in healing of forefoot ulcer and helps prevent ulcer recurrence.

MeSH terms

  • Achilles Tendon / surgery*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Casts, Surgical*
  • Diabetic Foot / complications
  • Diabetic Foot / surgery*
  • Diabetic Foot / therapy
  • Diabetic Neuropathies / complications
  • Equinus Deformity / etiology
  • Equinus Deformity / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome