Tear of the medial or Deltoid ligaments of the ankle

Defintion:

A partial or complete discontinuity in the connective tissue fibre matrix comprising the medial ligaments of the ankle.

Causes:

The medial ligaments of the ankle are far less frequently torn than their lateral counter-parts. Not only are the Deltoid ligaments tougher, but a series of biomechanical factors favours a tear of the lateral ankle ligaments. Deltoid ligament sprains may occur in combination with a lateral malleolus fracture or syndesmosis injuries. Isolated Deltoid ligament tears may result from an eversion injury during which one’s body weight rolls over the everted foot. Typically the anterior fibres of the Deltoid ligament are injured.

Examination:

Obeservation: A patient suffering from a Deltoid ligament tear will usually present with an antalgic gait if able to weight-bare at all which, depends on the extent of the injury.

Clinical stability tests to determine the ligamentous status of the ankle are best performed approximately one week after injury, once the swelling and pain have subsided.

Palpation: Deltoid ligament tears result in pain, and oedema over the medial aspect of the ankle. If a Deltoid ligament tear is suspected, it is important to evaluate the ankle for a syndesmosis sprain or fracture.

Radiographic imagery is necessary for medial ligamentous sprains at the ankle.