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06.03.2023 | Innovation

Les docteurs Nils Reymond, Victor Dubois-Ferrière et Mathieu Assal ont publié un travail scientifique portant sur l'hallux limitus fonctionnel. La question posée est de savoir si les patients atteints par une telle pathologie ont un corps musculaire bas ou charnu.



Functional hallux limitus (FHLim) refers to a limitation of hallux dorsiflexion when the first metatarsal head is under load, whereas physiologic dorsiflexion is measured in the unloaded condition. Limited excursion of the flexor hallucis longus (FHL) in the retrotalar pulley has been identified as a possible cause of FHLim. A low-lying or bulky FHL muscle belly could be the cause of this limitation. However, to date, there are no published data regarding the association between clinical and anatomical findings. The purpose of this anatomical study is to correlate the presence of FHLim and objective morphologic findings through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


Twenty-six patients (27 feet) were included in this observational study. They were divided into 2 groups, based on positive and negative Stretch Tests. In both groups, we measured on MRI the distance from the most inferior part of the FHL muscle belly and the retrotalar pulley as well as the cross-sectional area of the muscle belly 20, 30, and 40mm proximal to the retrotalar pulley.


 Eighteen patients had a positive Stretch Test and 9 patients had a negative Stretch Test. The mean distance between the most inferior part of the FHL muscle belly and the retrotalar pulley was 6.0±6.4mm for the positive group and 11.8±9.4mm for the negative group (P = .039). The mean cross section of the muscle measured at 20, 30, and 40mm from the pulley were 190±90, 300±112, and 395±123mm2 for the positive group and 98±44, 206±72, and 294±61mm2 for the negative group (P values .005, .019, and .017).


Cartibeads were first produced from human donors and characterized using histology (safranin O staining of glycosaminoglycan [GAG] and immunohistochemistry of collagen I and II) and GAG dosage. Cartibeads from 6 Göttingen minipigs were engineered and implanted in an autologous condition in the knee (4 or 5 lesions per knee). One group was followed up for 3 months and the other for 6 months. Feasibility and efficacy were measured using histological analysis and macroscopic and microscopic scores.


Based on these findings, we can conclude that patients with FHLim do have a low-lying FHL muscle belly causing limited excursion in the retrotalar pulley. However, the mean volume of the muscle belly was comparable in both groups, and therefore bulkiness was not found to be a contributing factor.

Level of evidence:

Level III, observational study

Key words:

functional hallux limitus, flexor hallucis longus Stretch Test, low-lying FHL muscle belly, bulky FHL muscle belly


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