Background: Post-operative weightbearing guidelines for displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures (DIACF) have been pragmatically developed in the past, however hardly adapted to current health care insights. A period of six to nine weeks of non-weightbearing is usually recommended. It is unknown whether an earlier start of weightbearing is advisable.
Objectives: The primary aim was to evaluate the effect of time to post-operative weightbearing on Böhler's angle. Secondary aims were to determine the effect on functional outcome (e.g., The American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society Scale), post-operative pain score, complications (e.g., infections, nonunion, implant removal), and revision surgeries. Finally, the effect of bone void filling on these outcomes was investigated.
Data source: A literature search was performed on January 24, 2017 in the Cochrane Library, Medline Ovid, Embase, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and CINAHL.
Literature selection: Studies reporting on operatively treated patients with a DIACF and time to weightbearing were eligible for inclusion. Studies were excluded when not reporting primary data, solely reporting on open fractures, bilateral fractures, or polytrauma patients. Based upon the time to starting partial weightbearing, patient cohorts were stratified into very early (0-4 weeks), early (4-6 weeks), intermediate (6-8 weeks), or late (8-12 weeks) start of partial weightbearing.
Data extraction: Two investigators extracted data independently using a predefined data sheet.
Results: After applying exclusion criteria, 72 studies remained eligible for analysis. Böhler's and Gissane's angles, calcaneal height, AOFAS, pain scores, and complications had overlapping confidence intervals in all weightbearing groups.
Conclusion: The adverse sequelae which are assumed to be associated with starting partial weightbearing already within six weeks after internal fixation of calcaneal fractures, is not supported by literature data. This systematic review suggests that early weightbearing does not result in impaired outcomes compared with more conservative weightbearing regimes.

, , ,,
Surgery and Traumatology
Injury: International Journal of the Care of the Injured
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

de Boer, A., van Lieshout, E., Van Moolenbroek, G. (Gerson), den Hartog, D., & Verhofstad, M. (2018). The effect of time to post-operative weightbearing on functional and clinical outcomes in adults with a displaced intra-articular calcaneal fracture. Injury: International Journal of the Care of the Injured. doi:10.1016/j.injury.2018.02.021