Impingement syndromes of the ankle involve either osseous or soft tissue impingement and can be anterior, anterolateral, or posterior. Ankle impingement syndromes are painful conditions caused by the friction of joint tissues, which are both the cause and the effect of altered joint biomechanics. The distal fascicle of the anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament (AITFL) is possible cause of anterior impingement. The objective of this article was to review the literature concerning the anatomy, pathogenesis, symptoms and treatment of the AITFL impingement and finally to formulate treatment recommendations. The AITFL starts from the distal tibia, 5 mm in average above the articular surface, and descends obliquely between the adjacent margins of the tibia and fibula, anterior to the syndesmosis to the anterior aspect of the lateral malleolus. The incidence of the accessory fascicle differs very widely in the several studies. The presence of the distal fascicle of the AITFL and also the contact with the anterolateral talus is probably a normal finding. It may become pathological, due to anatomical variations and/or anterolateral instability of the ankle resulting from an anterior talofibular ligament injury. When observed during an ankle arthroscopy, the surgeon should look for the criteria described to decide whether it is pathological and considering resection of the distal fascicle. The presence of the AITFL and the contact with the talus is a normal finding. An impingement of the AITFL can result from an anatomical variant or anteroposterior instability of the ankle. The diagnosis of ligamentous impingement in the anterior aspect of the ankle should be considered in patients who have chronic ankle pain in the anterolateral aspect of the ankle after an inversion injury and have a stable ankle, normal plain radiographs, and isolated point tenderness on the anterolateral aspect of the talar dome and in the anteroinferior tibiofibular ligament. The impingement syndrome can be treated arthroscopically.
- Accessory fascicle
- Anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament
- Impingement syndrome