Morbidity Associated With High Gastrocnemius Recession: Retrospective Review of 126 Cases

Shannon M. Rush, Lawrence A. Ford, Graham A. Hamilton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


To evaluate morbidity associated with surgical lengthening of the gastrocnemius, medical records were reviewed retrospectively for 126 patients (mean age, 49.7 years; range, 8-78 years) who had undergone open gastrocnemius recession. Ten patients had isolated recession; 116 had gastrocnemius recession with an additional foot or ankle procedure on the ipsilateral limb. During a mean follow-up period of 19 months (range, 6-50 months), all patients were examined for any postoperative complications associated with the recession. Complications were defined as the presence of postoperative infection, wound dehiscence, nerve problems, decreased muscle strength, scar problems, or calcaneus gait (overlengthening). Uncomplicated outcome was defined as absence of all these complications and return to regular activity, both occurring during a follow-up of at least 6 months. Postsurgical complications developed in 9 (6%) of the 126 patients: 6 (4%) had scar problems, 2 (1.33%) had wound dehiscence, 2 (1.33%) had infection, 3 (2%) had nerve problems, and 1 (0.67%) developed complex regional pain syndrome. No patient complained of either a limp or gait disturbance. Neither persistent decrease in muscle strength nor calcaneus gait was seen. These data suggest that the open gastrocnemius recession procedure has low associated morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-160
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Achilles tendon lengthening
  • equinus deformity
  • gastrocnemius recession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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