In Vivo CT Analysis of Physiological Fibular Motion at the Level of the Ankle Syndesmosis During Plantigrade Weightbearing

Paul Hoogervorst, Zachary Working, Ashraf N. El Naga, Meir Marmor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Background. It is clear that motion at the syndesmosis occurs due to ranging of the ankle joint, but the influence of weightbearing with the foot in the plantigrade position is unclear. In vivo computed tomographic (CT) evaluation of the syndesmosis has not been previously described. The purpose of this study is to quantify physiological fibular motion at the level of the ankle syndesmosis in both weightbearing and nonweightbearing conditions with the foot in the plantigrade position. Methods. CT images were obtained from 9 normal healthy subjects using a weightbearing CT imaging system. The subjects were positioned in a nonweightbearing and weightbearing state with their foot in the plantigrade position. Fibular translation and rotation were measured from the axial CT images using previously validated techniques. Results. Both the average lateral and anteroposterior translation of the fibula between weightbearing and nonweightbearing states was minimal (0.3 mm and 0.2 mm, respectively). The largest difference in translation observed in either direction was 0.9 mm. An average of 0.5° was found for rotational differences of the fibula between weightbearing and nonweightbearing. Neither of the translational and rotational parameters reached statistical significance. Conclusion. In vivo CT analysis of the distal tibiofibular joint with an intact syndesmosis did not reveal statistically significant physiological motion between weightbearing and nonweightbearing conditions with the foot in plantigrade position. Our findings suggest that weightbearing accounts for little motion at the syndesmosis and supports further investigation into the role of early protected weightbearing after syndesmosis fixation. Levels of Evidence: Level III: Case-control study

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalFoot and Ankle Specialist
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jun 1 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • CT analysis
  • in vivo
  • motion
  • nonweightbearing
  • physiological
  • syndesmosis
  • weightbearing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Podiatry
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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