Variation in the Anterior Talofibular Ligament and the Impact of Sex, Height, Weight, and Age

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Clinical Anatomy


The anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) is one of the lateral ankle ligaments stabilizing the ankle joint, primarily involved with restricting foot supination. There has been limited research on precise ATFL anatomy and variations, and several studies have conflicting results. The objective of this study was to determine if a correlation exists between ATFL variation and sex, height, weight, and age. In this study, 15 male ankles and 24 female ankles were dissected free of overlying structures to reveal the ATFL, which was classified based on the number of fascicles. Nine of the ligaments had one fascicle, 13 had two incompletely separated fascicles, 12 had two completely separated fascicles, and three had three fascicles. Two ankles had no ATFL. Ligament length and width were measured using the program ImageJ; average length was 19.2 mm and average width was 9.59 mm. Male ligaments were longer and wider than female ligaments. A multivariate regression model was used to assess the influence of sex, height, weight, age, ligament length, and ligament width in predicting ligament variant type; these factors were determined to have no influence. This study found a large amount of ATFL variability, but no correlation between height, weight, age, ligament length, ligament width and ATFL variation. Male ligaments were longer and wider than female ligaments.



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ankle, ankle joint, ankle variation, anterior talofibular ligament, lateral ankle collateral ligament, ankle lateral ligament, ligament variation