3D Model Analysis of Ankle Flexion on Anatomic Reduction of a Syndesmotic Injury

Jason M. Schon, Jacob D. Mikula, Jonathon D. Backus, Melanie B. Venderley, Grant J. Dornan, Robert F. LaPrade, Thomas O. Clanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: The effect of ankle positioning during suture-button fixation for syndesmosis repair on range of motion (ROM) and anatomic reduction has yet to be investigated. The purpose of this cadaveric study was to compare the effects of 3 different ankle positions during suture-button repair on volumetric reduction of the syndesmosis, fibular displacement, and ROM of the ankle using 3-dimensional computed tomography (CT) analysis. The null hypothesis was that ankle position during fixation would not affect syndesmotic volume restoration, fibular displacement, or ROM. Methods: Twelve matched pair (n = 24) human cadaveric specimens were used for this study. Prior to syndesmotic sectioning, ROM assessment and CT scans were performed. Following sectioning of the syndesmosis, specimens were repaired in plantarflexion, dorsiflexion, or neutral, and simulated postrepair ROM evaluations and CT scans were repeated. Least squares mean differences between repair groups and the preinjury state were compared by analysis of variance and Tukey’s method. Results: There were no significant differences between repair groups for volumetric reduction (P =.917), fibular displacement (anterior-posterior, P =.805; medial-lateral, P =.949), or dorsiflexion capacity (P =.249). Among all specimens, compared with the preinjury state, there was a significant mean ± SD volume reduction of 337 ± 400 mm3 and medial displacement of 1.9 ± 1.5 mm. Conclusion: This study failed to reject the null hypothesis and demonstrated that ankle flexion at the time of syndesmotic fixation with a suture-button construct had no significant in vitro effect on volume changes, fibular displacement, or dorsiflexion capacity. However, in comparison to the preinjured state, suture-button repair resulted in significant overcompression with respect to syndesmosis volume and medial displacement of the fibula. Clinical Relevance: Ankle position at the time of syndesmotic fixation did not affect overall ankle ROM when using a suture-button construct; however, overcompression was observed in all positions. The clinical impact of syndesmotic overcompression remains largely unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-442
Number of pages7
JournalFoot and Ankle International
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017


  • Computed tomography
  • TightRope
  • suture-button
  • syndesmosis
  • tibiofibular


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