Effects of ankle arthrodesis on biomechanical performance of the entire foot

Yan Wang, Zengyong Li, Duo Wai Chi Wong, Ming Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Methodology Ankle arthrodesis is one popular surgical treatment for ankle arthritis, chronic instability, and degenerative deformity. However, complications such as foot pain, joint arthritis, and bone fracture may cause patients to suffer other problems. Understanding the internal biomechanics of the foot is critical for assessing the effectiveness of ankle arthrodesis and provides a baseline for the surgical plan. This study aimed to understand the biomechanical effects of ankle arthrodesis on the entire foot and ankle using finite element analyses. A three-dimensional finite element model of the foot and ankle, involving 28 bones, 103 ligaments, the plantar fascia, major muscle groups, and encapsulated soft tissue, was developed and validated. The biomechanical performances of a normal foot and a foot with ankle arthrodesis were compared at three gait instants, first-peak, mid-stance, and second-peak. Principal Findings/Conclusions Changes in plantar pressure distribution, joint contact pressure and forces, von Mises stress on bone and foot deformation were predicted. Compared with those in the normal foot, the peak plantar pressure was increased and the center of pressure moved anteriorly in the foot with ankle arthrodesis. The talonavicular joint and joints of the first to third rays in the hind- And mid-foot bore the majority of the loading and sustained substantially increased loading after ankle arthrodesis. An average contact pressure of 2.14 MPa was predicted at the talonavicular joint after surgery and the maximum variation was shown to be 80% in joints of the first ray. The contact force and pressure of the subtalar joint decreased after surgery, indicating that arthritis at this joint was not necessarily a consequence of ankle arthrodesis but rather a progression of pre-existing degenerative changes. Von Mises stress in the second and third metatarsal bones at the second-peak instant increased to 52 MPa and 34 MPa, respectively, after surgery. These variations can provide indications for outcome assessment of ankle arthrodesis surgery.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0134340
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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