The purpose of this study was to define the biomechanical characteristics of the isolated, individual bone-Iigamentbone complexes of the human ankle. Twenty human ankles were dissected of all soft tissues to leave only the tibia, fibula, talus, and calcaneus with their intact anterior talofibular, calcaneofibular, posterior talofibular, and deep deltoid ligaments. Specimens were mounted and tested in a Minneapolis Testing System. Protocol consisted of cyclic loading of each isolated bone-ligament-bone preparation, followed by several constant velocity load-deflection tests at varying deflection rates, followed by a final, extremely rapid load to failure test.
All ligaments exhibited nonlinearity and strain rate dependence in their load-deflection data. These properties were correlated with ligament function and trauma. The anterior talofibular ligament, the most commonly injured ankle ligament, had the lowest mean maximum load of the specimens tested, whereas the deep deltoid ligament, the least frequently completely disrupted ankle ligament, had the highest load to failure.