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Research Papers

A Biomechanical Investigation of Ankle Injury Under Excessive External Foot Rotation in the Human Cadaver

[+] Author and Article Information
Feng Wei

Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratories, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824weifeng@msu.edu

Mark R. Villwock

Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratories, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824villwoc2@msu.edu

Eric G. Meyer

Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratories, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824meyerer2@msu.edu

John W. Powell

Department of Kinesiology, College of Education, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824powellj4@ath.msu.edu

Roger C. Haut

Orthopaedic Biomechanics Laboratories, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824haut@msu.edu

J Biomech Eng 132(9), 091001 (Aug 16, 2010) (4 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4002025 History: Received December 21, 2009; Revised June 12, 2010; Posted June 22, 2010; Published August 16, 2010; Online August 16, 2010

Numerous studies on the mechanisms of ankle injury deal with injuries to the syndesmosis and anterior ligamentous structures but a previous sectioning study also describes the important role of the posterior talofibular ligament (PTaFL) in the ankle’s resistance to external rotation of the foot. It was hypothesized that failure level external rotation of the foot would lead to injury of the PTaFL. Ten ankles were tested by externally rotating the foot until gross injury. Two different frequencies of rotation were used in this study, 0.5 Hz and 2 Hz. The mean failure torque of the ankles was 69.5±11.7Nm with a mean failure angle of 40.7±7.3°. No effects of rotation frequency or flexion angle were noted. The most commonly injured structure was the PTaFL. Visible damage to the syndesmosis only occurred in combination with fibular fracture in these experiments. The constraint of the subtalar joint in the current study may have affected the mechanics of the foot and led to the resultant strain in the PTaFL. In the real world, talus rotations may be affected by athletic footwear that may influence the location and potential for an ankle injury under external rotation of the foot.

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Copyright © 2010 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Screw positioning from medial (a) and lateral (b) sides and foot potting (c)

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Figure 2

(a) Distal lower extremity constraints. Foot fixated in potting material with reflective marker arrays attached to bony landmarks. This marker set was used for a pilot motion analysis study (not documented here). (b) Schematic of experimental setup.

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Figure 3

Torsional stiffness of foot/ankle complex for different frequencies of rotation. No significant differences between conditions were observed.

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Figure 4

Average torque-angular displacement response of foot/ankle complex for all specimens

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Figure 5

Representative failure modes resulting from excessive external rotation of the foot/ankle complex. (a) Fibular avulsion of the posterior talofibular ligament (left); fibular fracture through the anterior tibiofibular ligament (right). (b) Anterior deltoid ligament rupture.

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