Gait Analysis of Foot Compensation After Arthrodesis of the First Metatarsophalangeal Joint

Jasper Stevens*, Kenneth Meijer, Wouter Bijnens, Mathijs C. H. W. Fuchs, Lodewijk W. van Rhijn, Joris P. S. Hermus, Sander van Hoeve, Martijn Poeze, Adhiambo M. Witlox

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: Arthrodesis of the first metatarsophalangeal (MTP1) joint is an intervention often used in patients with severe MTP1 joint osteoarthritis and relieves pain in approximately 80% of these patients. The kinematic effects and compensatory mechanism of the foot for restoring a more normal gait pattern after this intervention are unknown. The aim of this study was to clarify this compensatory mechanism, in which it was hypothesized that the hindfoot and forefoot would be responsible for compensation after an arthrodesis of the MTP1 joint.

Methods: Gait properties were evaluated in 10 feet of 8 patients with MTP1 arthrodesis and were compared with 21 feet of 12 healthy subjects. Plantar pressures and intersegmental range of motion were measured during gait by using the multisegment Oxford Foot Model. Pre- and postoperative X-rays of the foot and ankle were also evaluated.

Results: The MTP1 arthrodesis caused decreased eversion of the hindfoot during midstance, followed by an increased internal rotation of the hindfoot during terminal stance, and ultimately more supination and less adduction of the forefoot during preswing. In addition, MTP1 arthrodesis resulted in a lower pressure time integral beneath the hallux and higher peak pressures beneath the lesser metatarsals. A mean dorsiflexion fusion angle of 30 5.4 degrees was observed in postoperative radiographs.

Conclusion: This study demonstrated that the hindfoot and forefoot compensated for the loss of motion of the MTP1 joint after arthrodesis in order to restore a more normal gait pattern. This resulted in a gait in which the rigid hallux was less loaded while the lesser metatarsals endured higher peak pressures. Further studies are needed to investigate whether this observed transfer of load or a preexistent decreased compensatory mechanism of the foot can possibly explain the disappointing results in the minority of the patients who experience persistent complaints after a MTP1 arthrodesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-191
Number of pages11
JournalFoot & Ankle International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • MTP1 arthrodesis
  • hallux
  • gait analysis
  • Oxford Foot Model
  • multisegment foot model
  • plantar pressure
  • compensatory mechanism


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