Current concepts review: Isolated gastrocnemius contracture and gastrocnemius recession

Heather L. Barske, University of Manitoba
Benedict F. DiGiovanni, University of Rochester Medical Center
Molly Douglass, Elite Physical Therapy
Deborah A. Nawoczenski, Ithaca College

Abstract

Recent literature has demonstrated an increased awareness of the role of an IGC in patients with foot and ankle symptoms and disorders. However, the contribution of an IGC to the pathology and natural history of these foot and ankle disorders is not known. Initial investigations of gastrocnemius recession procedures for a variety of pathologies suggest improvements in dorsiflexion range of motion, pain, and patient satisfaction. Functional outcomes, however, are less clear. Whether prospective or retrospective in design, comparison of outcomes among current investigations is difficult because of the small subject numbers and limited use of validated functional outcomes. Although further investigations are necessary, early reports note encouraging results for pain relief and increased motion for the gastrocnemius procedure used in isolation for plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, metatarsalgia, and forefoot ulcerations. Copyright © 2012 by the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society.