The Bone & Joint Journal Vol. 102-B, No. 12

Should 15° of valgus coronal-plane deformity be the upper limit for a total ankle arthroplasty?

Mansur M. Halai, Ellie Pinsker, Matthew A. Mann, Timothy R. Daniels


Preoperative talar valgus deformity ≥ 15° is considered a contraindication for total ankle arthroplasty (TAA). We compared operative procedures and clinical outcomes of TAA in patients with talar valgus deformity ≥ 15° and < 15°.


A matched cohort of patients similar for demographics and components used but differing in preoperative coronal-plane tibiotalar valgus deformity ≥ 15° (valgus, n = 50; 52% male, mean age 65.8 years (SD 10.3), mean body mass index (BMI) 29.4 (SD 5.2)) or < 15° (control, n = 50; 58% male, mean age 65.6 years (SD 9.8), mean BMI 28.7 (SD 4.2)), underwent TAA by one surgeon. Preoperative and postoperative radiographs, Ankle Osteoarthritis Scale (AOS) pain and disability and 36-item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) version 2 scores were collected prospectively. Ancillary procedures, secondary procedures, and complications were recorded.


At mean 5.1 years follow-up (SD 2.6) (valgus) and 6.6 years (SD 3.3) (controls), mean AOS scores decreased and SF-36 scores increased significantly in both groups. Improvements in scores were similar for both groups – AOS pain: valgus, mean 26.2 points (SD 24.2), controls, mean 22.3 points (SD 26.4); AOS disability: valgus, mean 41.2 points (SD 25.6); controls, mean 34.6 points (SD 24.3); and SF-36 PCS: valgus, mean 9.1 points (SD 14.1), controls, mean 7.4 points (SD 9.8). Valgus ankles underwent more ancillary procedures during TAA (40 (80%) vs 13 (26%)) and more secondary procedures postoperatively (18 (36%) vs 7 (14%)) than controls. Tibiotalar deformity improved significantly (p < 0.001) towards a normal weightbearing axis in valgus ankles. Three valgus and four control ankles required subsequent fusion, including two for deep infections (one in each group).


Satisfactory mid-term results were achieved in patients with preoperative valgus malalignment ≥ 15°, but they required more adjunctive procedures during and after TAA. Valgus coronal-plane deformity ≥ 15° is not an absolute contraindication for TAA if associated deformities are addressed.


Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(12):1689–1696.

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