Researchers from the University of Barcelona (UB) have discovered a new anatomical structure of the human ankle with the identification of new fibers , usually discarded in anatomical dissections, which are actually a new ligament in the lateral part of the ankle.
These results, published in the scientific journal Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy , change the understanding of this joint and could explain why many ankle sprains continue to cause pain even months or years after the initial injury.
According to human anatomy manuals, the ligaments of theThe ankle joint are structures that are grouped by two large ligamentous complexes: the lateral collateral ligament -located in the lateral part of the joint and formed by three ligaments that are independent of each other- and the medial collateral ligament or deltoid ligament.
In this new scientific study, UB researchers have defined a new anatomical structure in the ankle: the lateral fibulotalocalcaneal ligamentous complex (LFTCL).
The team responsible for the discovery is specialized in the anatomy of the musculoskeletal system , and includes professors from the UB Faculty of Medicine Jordi Vega, Francisco Malagelada, M. Cristina Manzanares and Miquel Dalmau.
The latter has explained that the lateral ankle ligaments are the ones that are injured most often, especially due to ankle sprains, and, furthermore, many of the people who suffer this injury have discomfort that lasts over time, and a tendency to make a new sprain that until now has not been explained from medicine.
“This lack of explanation was the key to changing the way ligament dissection was approached, and then we realized that connecting fibers between ligaments were routinely removed because they were thought not to be part of the ligament,” he said. detailed Dalmau.
Careful dissection of the ankle joint capsule has also made it possible to identify for the first time the intra-articular component of the anterior talofibular ligament.
According to the study, this ligament would be formed by two fascicles, one superior and one inferior, which are located respectively inside and outside the joint.
“This finding makes us think that the behavior after an injury will be similar to that of other intra-articular ligaments, such as the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee, which are not capable of healing by themselves when they are torn, which causes the joint to remain unstable and in many cases requires surgical intervention”, concluded Dalmau.

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