Nevin Manimala Statistics

Fluoroscopic Evaluation of the Role of Syndesmotic Injury in Lateral Ankle Instability in a Cadaver Model

Foot Ankle Int. 2022 Sep 1:10711007221116567. doi: 10.1177/10711007221116567. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: There is a high prevalence of concomitant lateral ankle ligament injuries and syndesmotic ligamentous injuries. However, it is unclear whether syndesmotic ligaments directly contribute toward the stability of the lateral ankle. Therefore, the aim of this study was to fluoroscopically evaluate the role of the syndesmotic ligaments in stabilizing the lateral ankle.

METHODS: Twenty-four cadaveric specimens were divided into 3 groups and fluoroscopically evaluated for lateral ankle stability with all syndesmotic and ankle ligaments intact and then following serial differential ligamentous transection. Group 1: (1) anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), (2) calcaneofibular ligament (CFL), and (3) posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL). Group 2: (1) anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament (AITFL), (2) interosseous ligament (IOL), (3) posterior inferior tibiofibular ligament (PITFL), (4) ATFL, (5) CFL, and (6) PTFL. Group 3: (1) AITFL, (2) ATFL, (3) CFL, (4) IOL, (5) PTFL, and (6) PITFL. At each transection state, 3 loading conditions were used: (1) anterior drawer test performed using 50 and 80 N of direct force, (2) talar tilt <1.7 Nm torque, and (2) lateral clear space (LCS) <1.7 Nm torque. These measurements were in turn compared with those of the stressed intact ligamentous state. Wilcoxon rank-sum test was used to compare the findings of each ligamentous transection state to the intact state. A P value <.05 was considered statistically significant.

RESULTS: The lateral ankle remained stable after transection of all syndesmotic ligaments (AITFL, IOL, PITFL). However, after additional transection of the ATFL, the lateral ankle became unstable in varus and anterior drawer testing conditions (P values ranging from .036 to .012). Lateral ankle instability was also observed after transection of the ATFL and AITFL in varus and anterior drawer testing conditions (P values ranging from .036 to .012). Subsequent transection of the CFL and PTFL worsened the lateral ankle instability.

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that isolated syndesmosis disruption does not result in lateral ankle instability. However, the lateral ankle became unstable when the syndesmosis was injured along with ATFL disruption.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: When combined with ATFL release, disruption of the syndesmosis appeared to destabilize the lateral ankle.

PMID:36047450 | DOI:10.1177/10711007221116567

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