What are tendon transfers?
Tendon transfers are surgical procedures that repositions a tendon insertion of a muscle-tendon unit. The muscle remains in normal anatomic position but the tendon now has a new role. The transfers typically improve foot alignment and make it easier to walk. The art of tendon transfer surgeries are time tested and were developed when polio was more common.
Goals of a tendon transfer?
The primary goal for the surgery is to improve foot alignment and reduce deformity. The foot then can be easier to brace or in some cases the need for a brace can be eliminated.
When can tendon transfer be considered?
In situations where there is muscle-tendon imbalance and deformity (see example below). Tendon transfers can rebalance and reassign muscle function. Weakness or foot deformies after:
- Nerve damage after accident or surgery
- Systemic disease
Some of the common transfers are:
- Posterior tibial to lateral foot
- Posterior tibial to top of foot
- Flexor hallucis longus to achilles
- Flexor hallucis longus to lateral foot
- Peroneus longus to top of foot