Effect of weightbearing and foot positioning on 3D distal tibiofibular joint parameters

Sci Rep. 2022 Jun 7;12(1):9357. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-12963-2.


The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of different loading scenarios and foot positions on the configuration of the distal tibiofibular joint (DTFJ). Fourteen paired human cadaveric lower legs were mounted in a loading frame. Computed tomography scans were obtained in unloaded state (75 N) and single-leg loaded stand (700 N) of each specimen in five foot positions: neutral, 15° external rotation, 15° internal rotation, 20° dorsiflexion, and 20° plantarflexion. An automated three-dimensional measurement protocol was used to assess clear space (diastasis), translational angle (rotation), and vertical offset (fibular shortening) in each foot position and loading condition. Foot positioning had a significant effect on DTFJ configuration. Largest effects were related to clear space increase by 0.46 mm (SD 0.21 mm) in loaded dorsal flexion and translation angle of 2.36° (SD 1.03°) in loaded external rotation, both versus loaded neutral position. Loading had no effect on clear space and vertical offset in any position. Translation angle was significantly influenced under loading by - 0.81° (SD 0.69°) in internal rotation only. Foot positioning noticeably influences the measurements when evaluating DTFJ configuration. Loading seems to have no relevant effect on native ankles in neutral position.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ankle / diagnostic imaging
  • Ankle Injuries*
  • Ankle Joint* / diagnostic imaging
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Cadaver
  • Fibula
  • Humans
  • Weight-Bearing