Chronic ankle instability has no correlation with the number of ruptured ligaments in severe anterolateral sprain: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Jácome Pacheco, Francisco Guerra-Pinto, Luis Araújo, Miguel Flora, Rita Alçada, Teresa Rocha, Pedro Diniz, José Guimarães Consciência

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Despite being a significant public health problem, ankle sprains’ prognostic factors are largely unknown. This review aimed to systematically analyze the literature on acute ankle sprains to compare the prognosis of a combined anterior talofibular (ATFL) and calcaneofibular (CFL) ligaments rupture with an isolated ATFL rupture in terms of progression to chronic ankle instability and other clinical outcomes. Methods: The databases for Pubmed, CENTRAL and Web of Science were searched. Clinical studies reporting the prognostic effect of combined ATFL-CFL rupture versus an isolated ATFL rupture in conservatively treated ankle sprains, with a minimum follow-up of 12 months, were eligible for inclusion. Only studies with a reliable diagnostic method for anterolateral ankle ligaments evaluation, namely ultrasonography, magnetic resonance imaging, arthrography or stress tenography, were included. The relative risk (RR), along with the 95% confidence interval (CI), was used to quantitatively analyze the main outcomes. Results: Nine papers were selected for inclusion, of which five were suitable for quantitative analysis. None of them found a statistically significant correlation between ligament injury severity and progression to chronic instability. Concerning other clinical outcomes, three studies found a statistically significant correlation between a combined ligament injury and a worse clinical prognosis. From the quantitative analysis, the relative risk (RR) of chronic ankle instability in a single versus a combined ligament rupture showed no significant difference. Conclusion: A significant statistical correlation between a combined ATFL-CFL rupture and chronic ankle instability, compared to an isolated ATFL rupture, was not found. There is, however, fair evidence showing a worse clinical outcome score in the combined ruptures, as well as a decreased return to full sports activities. The use of reliable and accessible diagnostic methods to determine the number of ruptured ligaments might have a role in managing severe ankle sprains. Level of evidence: Level III.

Original languageEnglish
JournalKnee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 15 May 2021

Keywords

  • Ankle sprain
  • Calcaneofibular ligament
  • Chronic ankle instability
  • Prognosis
  • Talofibular ligament

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