The subtalar arthrodesis using screws has been performed to manage traumatic subtalar arthritis. Even though clinically there might not have been big difference between using single screw or double screws for subtalar arthrodesis, a double screw fixation is expected to bring a better initial stability in a mechanical view. This study aimed to assess the optimal configuration of double screw fixation for subtalar arthrodesis.
From the CT-scanned images of an ankle of a Korean male (21 year old), polygon models of the talus and calcaneus were reconstructed. The polygon models were converted to tetrahedron finite elements. Young’s modulus was assigned locally to each element based on the Hounsfield unit, and a Poisson’s ratio of 0.4 was commonly. Four fixation configurations of double screw subtalar arthrodesis were modeled by combination of a same placement of a neck screw and one of four different placements of a dome screw, i.e., anterolateral (AL), anteromedial (AM), posterolateral (PL), and posteromedial (PM) placements. External and internal rotation torques of 4 N-m were applied when evaluating the stability of each fixation configuration.
Among the four fixation configurations, the fixation configuration of a neck screw plus a PM dome screw had the least translation of 0.9 and 0.8 mm for external and internal rotational torques of 4 N-m, respectively. The fixation configuration of a neck screw plus a PM dome screw showed the least rotation of 5.0° and 4.8° for external and internal rotational torques of 4 N-m, respectively. The divergence angle or the contact length did not solely match well to the better stability. However, the integration of both the divergence angle of 2 screws and the contact length between screw and bones were proportionally related to the better rotational stability.
A posteromedial dome screw combined with a neck screw can be the best surgical choice, which will bring out excellent union rate of the subtalar arthrodesis as well as the best mechanical stability.
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An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00167-011-1451-y
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Lee, J.Y., Lee, Y.S. Optimal double screw configuration for subtalar arthrodesis: a finite element analysis. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 19, 842–849 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00167-010-1383-y
- Subtalar arthrodesis
- Screw fixation
- Finite element analysis