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Ligaments of the Ankle Joint

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Updated January 23, 2008

The Joint:

The ankle joint is medically known as the talocrural joint. Three bones make up this joint; the tibia, fibula, and talus. The weight of the body is transmitted from the tibia to the talus which distributes the weight anteriorly and posteriorly within the foot.

The Ligaments:

The ligaments of the ankle joint are grouped into two categories, the lateral collateral ligaments and the medial collateral ligaments. Although the ligaments of the ankle are strong fibrous bands, they are often susceptible to injury due to the excessive movement of the subtalar joint during activity.

The lateral collateral ligaments include the anterior talofibular ligament, calcaneofibular ligament, talocalcaneal ligament, posterior talocalcaneal ligament and the posterior talofibular ligament. The anterior talofibular ligament passes from the tip of the lateral malleolus to the talus anteriorly. It limits plantar flexion of the joint. The calcaneofibular ligament passes from the lateral malleolus to the calcaneus with the talocalcaneal ligament running at its base. They resist adduction. The posterior talofibular ligament passes from the tip of the lateral malleolus to the talus posteriorly. The posterior talocalcaneal extends this band to the calcaneus. Both limit dorsiflexion.

The medial collateral ligaments, or deltoid ligament, include the tibionavicular ligament, calcaneotibial ligament, anterior talotibial ligament, and the posterior talotibial ligament. The tibionavicular ligament runs anteriorly form the medial malleolus to the navicular bone. The calcaneotibial ligament runs from the tip of the medial malleolus to the edge of the calcaneus. Both prevent abduction. The anterior and posterior talotibial ligaments run anteriorly and posteriorly between the medial malleolus and the talus. They limit plantar flexion and dorsiflexion respectively.

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