Tendon Transfers in Foot and Ankle Surgery

Abstract

Tendon transfers are a powerful tool in foot and ankle surgery. By detaching a functioning muscle-tendon unit from its insertion and reattaching it to another tendon or bone, tendon transfers can help restore function and correct deformity in a wide variety of conditions, including nerve injury, congenital conditions, and tendon injury or degeneration. A thorough preoperative evaluation and careful surgical technique are critical to the clinical success of any tendon transfer. It is also necessary to identify and treat any bony deformities or soft-tissue contractures to achieve the best results. This article reviews the general principles and application of tendon transfers in foot and ankle surgery. Although it is not possible to discuss every tendon transfer used around the foot and ankle, two of the most commonly applied will be reviewed: tibialis posterior tendon transfer through the interosseous membrane for footdrop and flexor hallucis longus tendon transfer to the calcaneus for Achilles tendon pathology.

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