The Arterial Anatomy of the Lateral Ligament Complex of the Ankle: A Cadaveric Study

Michelle M. Gosselin, Jacob A. Haynes, Jeremy J. McCormick, Jeffery E. Johnson, Sandra E. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Ankle sprains are the most common musculoskeletal injury in the United States. Chronic lateral ankle instability can ultimately require operative intervention to decrease pain and restore stability to the ankle joint. There are no anatomic studies investigating the vascular supply to the lateral ankle ligamentous complex. Purpose: To define the vascular anatomy of the lateral ligament complex of the ankle. Study Design: Descriptive laboratory study. Methods: Thirty pairs of cadaveric specimens (60 total legs) were amputated below the knee. India ink, followed by Ward blue latex, was injected into the peroneal, anterior tibial, and posterior tibial arteries to identify the vascular supply of the lateral ligaments of the ankle. Chemical debridement was performed with 8.0% sodium hypochlorite to remove the soft tissues, leaving casts of the vascular anatomy intact. The vascular supply to the lateral ligament complex was then evaluated and recorded. Results: The vascular supply to the lateral ankle ligaments was characterized in 56 specimens: 52 (92.9%) had arterial supply with an origin from the perforating anterior branch of the peroneal artery; 51 (91.1%), from the posterior branch of the peroneal artery; 29 (51.8%), from the lateral tarsal branch of the dorsalis pedis; and 12 (21.4%), from the posterior tibial artery. The anterior branch of the peroneal artery was the dominant vascular supply in 39 specimens (69.6%). Conclusion: There are 4 separate sources of extraosseous blood supply to the lateral ligaments of the ankle. In all specimens, the anterior talofibular ligament was supplied by the anterior branch of the peroneal artery and/or the lateral tarsal artery of the dorsalis pedis, while the posterior talofibular ligament was supplied by the posterior branch of the peroneal artery and/or the posterior tibial artery. The calcaneofibular ligament received variable contributions from the anterior and posterior branches of the peroneal artery, with few specimens receiving a contribution from the lateral tarsal or posterior tibial arteries. Clinical Relevance: Understanding the vascular anatomy of the lateral ligament complex is beneficial when considering surgical management and may provide insight into factors that lead to chronic instability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-143
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Sports Medicine
Volume47
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • ankle instability
  • ankle ligaments
  • lateral ligament complex
  • vascular supply

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