Displaced intra-articular calcaneal fractures are difficult to treat. We determined the functional results and complications of using allografts or equine xenografts in treating these fractures.
We reviewed patients seen at our center from May 2011 to December 2014 with Sanders type III or IV unilateral calcaneal fractures treated with locking plates and an additional bone allograft or equine xenograft. A minimum of 1 year after surgery, a history of infection and functional outcomes were assessed using the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society clinical rating system. Changes in the Gissane angle (GA) and Bohler angle were assessed from radiographs. Of the 91 eligible patients, 15 were lost to follow-up, leaving a sample of 76 patients (42 males): 45 received allografts (19 for type III and 26 for type IV fractures) and 31 received xenografts (20 for type III and 11 for type IV fractures). The mean age was about 40 years in both groups. After >/=1 year of follow-up, the proportion of patients in the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society scoring categories did not differ significantly between the 2 groups (mean ankle score, 86.5 in the allograft group and 85.1 in the xenograft group), and the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society functional outcomes were good or excellent in 69% and 68%, respectively (p = .986). The groups did not differ in the incidence of superficial or deep infection (p = 1.000). The Bohler angles were significantly decreased in the xenograft group. Xenografts might be preferred for repairing intra-articular calcaneal fractures because they can perform as well as allografts, avoid donor site morbidities, and are more available and less expensive than allografts.