Plantar Foot Ulcer Recurrence in Neuropathic Patients Undergoing Percutaneous Tendo-Achilles Lengthening

Dean H. Meshkin, Kevin Fagothaman, Jessica Arneson, Cara K. Black, Nicole C. Episalla, Elliot T. Walters, Karen K. Evans, John S. Steinberg, Christopher E. Attinger, Paul J. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Equinus contracture carries 3- and 4-fold associations with diabetes and plantar foot ulceration, respectively. Percutaneous tendo-Achilles lengthening is a useful method to alleviate peak plantar pressure resulting from equinus. We aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of percutaneous tendo-Achilles lengthening and estimate the relative longevity of the approach in reducing ulcer recurrence. The medical records of patients with equinus contracture who underwent percutaneous tendo-Achilles lengthening from 2010 to 2017 were reviewed. Included patients presented with plantar ulcers and a gastroc-soleus equinus of any angle <10° of ankle dorsiflexion with the affected knee extended and flexed. Patients who received concomitant tendon lengthening procedures (including anterior tibial tendon or flexor digitorum longus) were excluded. Outcome measures included time to wound healing, time to ulcer recurrence, and development of transfer lesion. Ninety-one patients underwent percutaneous tendo-Achilles lengthening with subsequent pedal ulceration without concomitant procedures. A total of 69 (75.8%) patients had a plantar forefoot ulcer, 7 (7.7%) had midfoot ulcers, 5 (5.5%) had hindfoot ulcers, and 3 (3.3%) had ulcers in multiple locations. Seven patients received prophylactic tendo-Achilles lengthening. At a mean follow-up of 31.6 months (±26), 66 (78.6%) wounds healed at a median 12.9 weeks. A total of 29 patients (43.9%) experienced ulcer recurrence at a mean of 12 months. Twelve patients (13%) experienced a transfer lesion at a mean of 16.6 months. Tendo-Achilles lengthening can be an effective adjunctive approach to achieve wound healing and reduce long-term ulcer recurrence in patients with equinus contracture and neuropathic plantar foot ulcers. A relengthening procedure may be needed within approximately 12 months from index surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1177-1180
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • 2
  • diabetes
  • diabetic foot ulcer
  • equinus
  • forefoot
  • transfer lesion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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