Ligament fibre recruitment and forces for the anterior drawer test at the human ankle joint

F. Corazza, J. J. O'Connor, A. Leardini, V. Parenti Castelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the anterior drawer test at the ankle joint is commonly used in routine clinical practice, very little is known about the sharing of load between the individual passive structures and the joint response at different flexion angles. A mathematical model of the ankle joint was devised to calculate ligament fibre recruitment and load/displacement curves at different flexion angles. Ligaments were modelled as three-dimensional arrays of fibres, and their orientations at different flexion angles were taken from a previously validated four-bar-linkage model in the sagittal plane. A non-linear stress/strain relationship was assumed for ligament fibres and relevant mechanical parameters were taken from two reports in the literature. Talus and calcaneus were assumed to move as a single rigid body. Antero/distal motion of the talus relative to the tibia was analysed. The ankle joint was found to be stiffer at the two extremes of the flexion range, and the highest laxity was found around the neutral position, confirming previous experimental works. With a first dataset, a 20N anterior force produced 4.3, 5.5, and 4.4mm displacement respectively at 20° plantarflexion, at neutral, and at 20° dorsiflexion. At 10° plantarflexion, for a 6mm displacement, 65% of the external force was supported by the anterior talofibular, 11% by the deep anterior tibiotalar and 5.5% by the tibionavicular ligament. Corresponding results from a second dataset were 1.4, 2.4 and 1.8mm at 40N force, and 80%, 0% and 2% for a 3mm displacement. A component of the contact force supported the remainder.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-372
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Ankle joint
  • Anterior drawer test
  • Fibre recruitment
  • Ligaments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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