Deltoid Ligament Injuries in Athletes: Techniques of Repair and Reconstruction

Operative Techniques in Sports Medicine (Impact Factor: 0.21). 03/2010; 18(1):11-17. DOI: 10.1053/j.otsm.2009.10.001

ABSTRACT Deltoid ligament injuries are a source of valgus and rotational ankle instability and often occur as a result of athletic injury. The anatomy of the medial ankle ligament complex is reviewed and pertinent radiological findings are emphasized. The clinical evaluation of athletes with medial ankle instability as well as methods of repair and reconstruction of the deltoid ligament complex in those patients requiring surgical care are described.

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    ABSTRACT: Controversy exists concerning the need for operative repair of the deltoid ligament during management of acute ankle fractures. The purpose of our report was to identify the indications for surgical intervention for deltoid ligament injury in the setting of ankle fractures. Furthermore, we aimed to elucidate the clinical outcomes after deltoid ligament repair in this setting. This was a multicenter study, involving 4 clinical institutions. From January 2006 to December 2011, 1533 ankle fractures underwent surgical intervention. Of this group, 131 deltoid ligament ruptures (8.55%) were identified and repaired operatively. Of the 131 patients, 74 were male (56.5%) and 57 were female (43.5%), with a mean age of 33.2 (range 16 to 63) years. The outcome measures included the clinical examination findings, radiographic findings, American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society ankle-hindfoot scores, visual analog scale (VAS) scores, and Medical Outcomes Study Short Form 36-item questionnaire scores. All incisions healed primarily. A total of 106 patients were followed up for a minimum of 12 (range 12 to 72) months, with an average follow-up period of 27 months. The mean interval to fracture union was 14.5 (range 9 to 16) weeks. The mean American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society ankle-hindfoot score at the latest follow-up visit was 91.4 (range 83 to 100) points. The mean visual analog scale score was 1.2 (range 0 to 6) points. The mean Short Form-36 score was 91.2 (range 80 to 96) points. Compared with the preoperative scores, all the 3 outcome measures had improved significantly postoperatively (p < .05). The postoperative stress radiographs did not reveal any ankle instability. None had evidence of post-traumatic arthritis of the ankle from the clinical examination and radiographs. A reasonable clinical evaluation and surgical repair was executed, with an appropriate repair technique chosen according to the site of deltoid ligament rupture. The results of the present multicenter study have shown that deltoid ligament rupture can be repaired in patients with an unstable medial ankle after fracture fixation and prevent ankle stabilization-related complications.
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