Three-dimensional analysis of anterior talofibular ligament strain patterns during cadaveric ankle motion using a miniaturized ligament performance probe

Ankle Instability Group

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1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Measuring the strain patterns of ligaments at various joint positions informs our understanding of their function. However, few studies have examined the biomechanical properties of ankle ligaments; further, the tensile properties of each ligament, during motion, have not been described. This limitation exists because current biomechanical sensors are too big to insert within the ankle. The present study aimed to validate a novel miniaturized ligament performance probe (MLPP) system for measuring the strain patterns of the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) during ankle motion. Methods: Six fresh-frozen, through-the-knee, lower extremity, cadaveric specimens were used to conduct this study. An MLPP system, comprising a commercially available strain gauge (force probe), amplifier unit, display unit, and logger, was sutured into the midsubstance of the ATFL fibers. To measure tensile forces, a round, metal disk (a “clock”, 150 mm in diameter) was affixed to the plantar aspect of each foot. With a 1.2-Nm load applied to the ankle and subtalar joint complex, the ankle was manually moved from 15° dorsiflexion to 30° plantar flexion. The clock was rotated in 30° increments to measure the ATFL strain detected at each endpoint by the miniature force probe. Individual strain data were aligned with the neutral (0) position value; the maximum value was 100. Results: Throughout the motion required to shift from 15° dorsiflexion to 30° plantar flexion, the ATFL tensed near 20° (plantar flexion), and the strain increased as the plantar flexion angle increased. The ATFL was maximally tensioned at the 2 and 3 o’clock (inversion) positions (96.0 ± 5.8 and 96.3 ± 5.7) and declined sharply towards the 7 o’clock position (12.4 ± 16.8). Within the elastic range of the ATFL (the range within which it can return to its original shape and length), the tensile force was proportional to the strain, in all specimens. Conclusion: The MLPP system is capable of measuring ATFL strain patterns; thus, this system may be used to effectively determine the relationship between limb position and ATFL ankle ligament strain patterns.

Original languageEnglish
Article number208
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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