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Efficacy of Gastrocnemius Recession in Relieving Recalcitrant Foot Pain

8 August 2015


Background: Gastrocnemius recession has been recently studied as a method to relieve recalcitrant foot pain in patients with isolated gastrocnemius contracture. Studies on the biomechanics of walking have proposed that limited ankle dorsiflexion results in improper weight loading across the foot, resulting in multiple pain pathologies. Recession of gastrocnemius muscles increases ankle dorsiflexion. This review aims to evaluate the efficacy of gastrocnemius recession relieving foot pain

Methods: Exhaustive search of available medical literature was completed using Medline-OVID, CINAHL, and Web of Science using the keywords: gastrocnemius and recession. Articles with visual analog scales were included, while studies focusing on one type of foot pathology or gastrocnemius contractures due to neurologic conditions were excluded. GRADE was used to evaluate the studies.

Results: The search resulted in two studies that address the clinical question. Both studies are retrospective and demonstrate remarkable pain relief in patients after gastrocnemius recession. The level of evidence supporting gastrocnemius recession as an effective treatment for recalcitrant foot pain is very low over these two studies.

Conclusion: In order to provide stronger evidence to support this treatment, better-designed studies including control groups must be developed. The raw data of the studies supports further investigation, as the results are promising.

Keywords: gastrocnemius, recession


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