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Am J Sports Med. 2002 Nov-Dec;30(6):816-22.

Clinical association of acute lateral ankle sprain with syndesmotic involvement: a stress radiography and magnetic resonance imaging study.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedics, Nelson R Mandela Medical School, University of Natal, Congella, South Africa.



Information concerning the clinical association between syndesmosis injury and grade of lateral ankle ligament damage would aid in the diagnosis and treatment of ankle sprains.


Evaluation of lateral ligament injury in terms of percentage tear of both the anterior talofibular and calcaneofibular ligaments can provide information on the extent of syndesmotic involvement.


Prospective cohort study.


Twenty-five patients volunteered to have magnetic resonance imaging examinations performed and 21 volunteered to undergo graded stress radiographs. Talar tilt angles were measured from radiographs taken with 0, 6, 9, 12, and 15 daN of force applied medially just above the ankle joint, and the percentage of ligament tear and grade of injury were determined. Scans were obtained with the foot in neutral and plantar flexion to image the anterior talofibular and calcaneofibular ligaments.


Grades of lateral ligament injury determined by magnetic resonance imaging and graded stress radiography were the same. The extent of syndesmotic injury could be assessed for all patients.


Intact tibiofibular ligaments were found equally frequently among patients with normal or any grade of lateral ligament damage, but the more severe injuries to the syndesmotic ligaments were associated with normal or minimally traumatized lateral ligaments. The inverse correlation can be explained on the basis of the difference between the mechanisms that precipitate these injuries.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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