Lateral ankle instability, resulting from the inability of ankle ligaments to heal after injury, is believed to cause a change in the articular contact mechanics that may promote cartilage degeneration. Considering that lateral ligaments' insufficiency has been related to rotational instability of the talus, and that few studies have addressed the contact mechanics under this condition, the aim of this work was to evaluate if a purely rotational ankle instability could cause non-physiological changes in contact pressures in the ankle joint cartilages using the ﬁnite element method. A finite element model of a healthy ankle joint, including bones, cartilages and nine ligaments, was developed. Pure internal talus rotations of 3.67°, 9.6° and 13.43°, measured experimentally for three ligamentous configurations, were applied. The ligamentous configurations consisted in a healthy condition, an injured condition in which the anterior talofibular ligament was cut, and an injured condition in which the anterior talofibular and calcaneofibular ligaments were cut. For all simulations, the contact areas and maximum contact pressures were evaluated for each cartilage. The results showed not only an increase of the maximum contact pressures in the ankle cartilages, but also novel contact regions at the anteromedial and posterolateral sections of the talar cartilage with increasing internal rotation. The anteromedial and posterolateral contact regions observed due to pathological internal rotations of the talus are a computational evidence that supports the link between a pure rotational instability and the pattern of pathological cartilaginous load seen in patients with long-term lateral chronic ankle instability.
|Journal||Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of engineering in medicine|
|Early online date||2 Oct 2020|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2021|