The place of the modified palmer technique for articular calcaneal fractures


Department of Orthopaedics, University Hospital Fattouma Bourguiba, Monastir, Tunisia


Surgical treatment of displaced articular fractures of the calcaneus is currently recommended by most authors. Different surgical procedures are described in literature. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the functional and anatomic results of articular fractures of the calcaneus surgically treated with the modified Palmer method and precise the place, the conditions, and the advantages of this technique for articular fractures of the calcaneus. This is a retrospective study assessing the outcomes of surgical treatment of articular calcaneal fractures surgically treated using the modified Palmer technique. Twenty-two patients underwent this surgery for 6 years. All patients have diabetes and/or smoking history, and physical examination revealed a severe swelling within the hindfoot. Sanders classification Type II was found in 6 cases, whereas 18 cases fell below Type III. The mean preoperative Bohler angle was about −2.7°. An extended lateral approach was performed, and the void caused by elevating the intra-articular surface was filled by an iliac crest graft firmly impacted in all cases. Additional limited fixation was performed in 71% of patients. On follow-up, the functional and anatomic results were analyzed, respectively, by Kitaoka and Babin's quotations, and the radiological assessment was based on Bohler angle. No cutaneous or infectious complications were observed after surgery. The mean postoperative Bohler angle was 21.9°, and it was 19.8° at the last follow-up with a significant difference. At follow-up, the mean functional Kitaoka score was 75; it was considered as excellent in four cases, good in ten, fair in eight, and poor in two patients. The modified Palmer technique is a simple surgical procedure to treat intra-articular calcaneal fractures. It provides encouraging results. This method is recommended in the case of Sander's II and III calcaneal fracture for patients with a high risk of cutaneous complications to avoid infection and cutaneous complications.


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