Total ankle arthroplasty is intended to restore physiological joint function in case of severe ankle arthritis. However, little is known about the functional outcome associated to different prosthesis designs. The aim of this retrospective study was to compare clinical and functional outcomes via gait analysis of two ankle prostheses designed to preserve ankle ligamentous isometry.
Two groups of twenty patients who underwent ankle arthroplasty using either a three-component or a two-component prosthesis, were clinically evaluated, both pre-operatively and at minimal 2-year follow-up, by means of the AOFAS score. The spatio-temporal parameters, along with the kinetics and kinematics of the lower limb joints were also assessed at follow-up via gait analysis. The non-parametric Kruskal-Wallis test was used to assess differences in functional data between the two patient groups and with respect to those from a control group of 20 healthy subjects.
All AOFAS scores significantly improved from pre-operative to post-operative assessment in both patient groups (P < 0.05). Most spatio-temporal and functional parameters in the patients were worse than those in the control group, but no significant differences were observed between the two arthroplasty groups.
Both patient groups showed improved clinical outcome at follow-up, with a few differences in gait parameters. However, neither of the two groups achieved normal locomotion patterns. Since both prostheses were designed to preserve ligamentous isometry, the choice of one implant over the other should be due to preferences in the surgical approach and to other patient-specific factors.
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