Background: Chronic ankle instability (CAI) is a common orthopaedic entity in sport. Although other risk factors have been studied extensively, little is known about how it is influenced by the osseous joint configuration.
Aim: To study the effect of osseous ankle configuration on CAI.
Design: Case–control study, level III.
Setting: Radiological examination with measurement of lateral x rays by an independent radiologist using a digital DICOM/PACS system.
Patients: A group of 52 patients who had had at least three recurrent sprains was compared with an age-matched and sex-matched control group of 52 healthy subjects.
Main outcome measures: The radius of the talar surface, the tibial coverage of the talus (tibiotalar sector) and the height of the talar body were measured.
Results: The talar radius was found to be larger in patients with CAI (21.2 (2.4) mm) than in controls (17.7 (1.9) mm; p<0.001, power >95%). The tibiotalar sector, representing the tibial coverage of the talus, was smaller in patients with CAI (80° (5.1°)) than in controls (88.4° (7.2°); p<0.001, power >95%). No significant difference was observed in the height of the talar body between patients with CAI (28.8 (2.6) mm) and controls (27.5 (4.0) mm; p = 0.055).
Conclusion: CAI is associated with an unstable osseous joint configuration characterised by a larger radius of the talus and a smaller tibiotalar sector. There is evidence that a higher talus might also play some part, particularly in women.
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Published Online First 2 February 2007
Competing interests: None declared.
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