Arthrodesis of the diabetic neuropathic ankle joint

M. J. Stuart, B. F. Morrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


At the authors' institution from 1964 to 1984, ankle arthrodesis was performed in 13 patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus who had a history of ankle sprain or fracture. Nine patients were diagnosed by clinical exam as having a peripheral neuropathy; nine patients had roentgenographic evidence of neuropathic arthropathy prior to surgery. Follow-up study with examination and roentgenograms averaged 42 months. Clinical and roentgenographic union was achieved in seven ankles at an average of 16 weeks. Two patients developed a nonunion, three had an amputation, and one died at two months postoperatively. Thirteen complications occurred in eight of the 13 patients (62%). Twenty reoperations, excluding pin removal, were performed in eight patients (62%). A satisfactory result was achieved in only 50% overall and in only 38% of patients with roentgenographic changes of neuropathic arthropathy. Neuropathic arthropathy contributes to the inordinate complication and failure rates. Ankle arthrodesis should be considered with caution in the diabetic patient.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-211
Number of pages3
JournalClinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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