Mechanics of the anterior drawer and talar tilt tests. A cadaveric study of lateral ligament injuries of the ankle

Roald Bahr, Fernando Pena, Joe Shine, William D. Lew, Conrad Lindquist, Stein Tyrdal, Lars Engebretsen

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We analyzed the changes in lateral ligament forces during anterior drawer and talar tilt testing and examined ankle joint motion during testing, following an isolated lesion of the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) or a combined lesion of the ATFL and calcaneofibular ligament (CFL). 8 cadaver specimens were held in a specially designed testing apparatus in which the ankle position (dorsiflexion-plantarflexion and supination-pronation) could be varied in a controlled manner. Ligament forces were measured with buckle transducers, and joint motion was measured with an instrumented spatial linkage. An anterior drawer test was performed using an 80 N anterior translating force, and a talar tilt test was performed using a 5.7 Nm supination torque with intact ligaments, after sectioning of the ATFL, and again after sectioning of the CFL. The tests were repeated at 10°dorsiflexion, neutral, and 10°and 20°plantarflexion. In the intact ankle, the largest increases in ATFL force were observed during testing in plantarflexion, whereas the largest increases in CFL force were observed in dorsiflexion. Isolated ATFL injury caused only small laxity changes, but a pronounced increase in laxity was observed after a combined CFL and ATFL injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-441
Number of pages7
JournalActa Orthopaedica Scandinavica
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by a grant from the Norwegian Research Council. We thank Ingar Holme, PhD, for developing the statistical models used.


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