Bridle transfer for paresis of the anterior and lateral compartment musculature

John R. Prahinski, Kathleen A. McHale, H. Thomas Temple, Joseph P. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


In the Riordan (bridle) transfer, the posterior tibialis muscle as motor is routed through the interosseous membrane and anastomosed into a 'bridle' formed by the distal tibialis anterior and peroneus longus muscles. In theory, the bridle provides inversion/eversion balance even if the transfer effects only tenodesis. However, the procedure has been criticized because its insertion is not into bone. This review analyzes the use of bridle transfer in flaccid paresis involving musculature innervated by the peroneal nerve. Surgery was performed 1 to 3 years after injury for patients with traumatic etiology. Ten patients are reviewed at 61 months' mean follow-up. Eight patients had traumatic peroneal nerve loss. Two had neuromuscular etiology. Evaluation included review of records, telephone interviews, and physical examinations. Data on functional status included walking barefoot, running, need for bracing, return to duty, and patient satisfaction. Physical examination recorded ankle position and motions, gait findings, and results of static electromyograms. All patients were able to walk barefoot, but 6 of 10 had a mild to moderate limp. Five patients returned to running initially; only two were able to keep running. Nine patients were brace-free initially (polio sequela required bracing initially), and four others returned to bracing. Of these, two experienced an acute 'tearing' and dorsiflexion loss, one sustained a prolonged gradual loss of dorsiflexion, and one sustained a contralateral cerebrovascular accident. Only three of seven patients returned to active duty, and one is on jump status. All patients were satisfied with their initial result. Only two patients had no detectable swing phase problems (both returned to active duty). Five patients had peroneal nerve exploration with repair or neurolysis; two of them sustained complete transections. Postoperative electromyograms showed insignificant, if any, nerve return. The Riordan transfer works well for neuromuscular flaccid paresis and in patients with peroneal nerve injuries with low demands. It may stretch out over time to the point of acute failure in patients with high demands. Concurrent peroneal nerve exploration and repair did not seem to be beneficial in this small study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-619
Number of pages5
JournalFoot and Ankle International
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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