Rotational Instability after Anterior Talofibular and Calcaneofibular Ligament Section: The Experimental Basis for the Ankle Pivot Test

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid

Abstract

The clinical diagnosis of the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) rupture is based on the findings from the medical history and the anterior drawer test, a maneuver that allegedly pushes the talus and rearfoot anteriorly, although with great variability in its sensitivity. We consider that an ATFL rupture is best evaluated by a rotational vector (i.e., a pivot test) owing to the uncompromised medial ligaments that will block any pure anterior translation of the talus underneath the tibia. We idealized a constrained ankle cadaver model that only allows talar movements in the axial plane. Our hypothesis was that progressive sectioning of the lateral ankle ligaments in this model would cause a progressive and significant angular laxity in internal rotation. Our results showed 3.67 degrees ± 1.2 degrees of talus rotational laxity in the intact ankle, 9.6 degrees ± 3.2 degrees after ATFL sectioning, and 13.43 degrees ± 3.2 degrees after ATFL and calcaneofibular ligament sectioning, indicating almost threefold increase in internal talocrural rotation after single ATFL sectioning and an almost fourfold increase after double (ATFL and calcaneofibular ligament) sectioning. We consider this evidence of rotational ankle laxity to be a major step in defining the correct movement to diagnose an ATFL rupture and propose a new term to avoid further inconsistencies and variability, “the pivot test.”

Level of Clinical Evidence: 5

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles