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Ankle Sprains

Lateral Ankle Ligaments

The lateral aspect of the ankle capsule is augmented by the anterior and posterior talofibular ligaments and the calcaneofibular ligament. Of these three structures, the anterior talofibular and calcaneofibular ligaments are the most important clinically.

The anterior talofibular ligament 

is a thickening of the ankle capsule 

extends a relatively short distance from the anterior edge of the distal part of the fibula to the talar neck, anterior to its lateral articular facet. 

The orientation of the anterior talofibular ligament depends on the position of the ankle joint:

  • In plantarflexion, it is parallel to the long axis of the foot
  • in dorsiflexion, it is aligned with the tibial and fibular shafts. 

Strain in the anterior talofibular ligament is minimum in dorsiflexion and neutral, and it increases as the ankle is moved progressively through plantarflexion. Inversion and internal rotation moments applied to the ankle increase the strain in this ligament.

The calcaneofibular ligament 

A discrete, extra-articular, round ligament that spans the ankle and subtalar joints as it courses obliquely from the inferior tip of the distal part of the fibula to insert posteriorly on the mid-lateral part of the calcaneus. 

This ligament is extra-articular but it has an intimate connection to the overlying peroneal-tendon sheath.  

extra-articular but it has an intimate connection to the overlying peroneal-tendon sheath.  

Strain increases as the ankle is moved from plantarflexion to dorsiflexion, with the greatest strain occurring when an inversion moment is applied with the ankle in dorsiflexion.

Because of its unique anatomic orientation, the calcaneofibular ligament also has a major role in the stabilization of the subtalar joint.



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