Preventive lateral ligament tester (PLLT): a novel method to evaluate mechanical properties of lateral ankle joint ligaments in the intact ankle

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PURPOSE: To construct and evaluate an ankle arthrometer that registers inversion joint deflection at standardized inversion loads and that, moreover, allows conclusions about the mechanical strain of intact ankle joint ligaments at these loads.

METHODS: Twelve healthy ankles and 12 lower limb cadaver specimens were tested in a self-developed measuring device monitoring passive ankle inversion movement (Inv-ROM) at standardized application of inversion loads of 5, 10 and 15 N. To adjust in vivo and in vitro conditions, the muscular inactivity of the evertor muscles was assured by EMG in vivo. Preliminary, test-retest and trial-to-trial reliabilities were tested in vivo. To detect lateral ligament strain, the cadaveric calcaneofibular ligament was instrumented with a buckle transducer. After post-test harvesting of the ligament with its bony attachments, previously obtained resistance strain gauge results were then transferred to tensile loads, mounting the specimens with their buckle transducers into a hydraulic material testing machine.

RESULTS: ICC reliability considering the Inv-ROM and torsional stiffness varied between 0.80 and 0.90. Inv-ROM ranged from 15.3° (±7.3°) at 5 N to 28.3° (±7.6) at 15 N. The different tests revealed a CFL tensile load of 31.9 (±14.0) N at 5 N, 51.0 (±15.8) at 10 N and 75.4 (±21.3) N at 15 N inversion load.

CONCLUSIONS: A highly reliable arthrometer was constructed allowing not only the accurate detection of passive joint deflections at standardized inversion loads but also reveals some objective conclusions of the intact CFL properties in correlation with the individual inversion deflections. The detection of individual joint deflections at predefined loads in correlation with the knowledge of tensile ligament loads in the future could enable more individual preventive measures, e.g. in high-level athletes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalKnee surgery, sports traumatology, arthroscopy : official journal of the ESSKA
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 25.07.2014

ID: 263745

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