For the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), a three-fiber bundle has recently been suggested to be weaker than a single or double fiber bundle in terms of ankle plantarflexion and inversion braking function. However, the studies leading to those results all used elderly specimens. Whether the difference in fiber bundles is a congenital or an acquired morphology is important when considering methods to prevent ATFL damage. The purpose of this study was to classify the number of fiber bundles in the ATFL of fetuses.
This study was conducted using 30 legs from 15 Japanese fetuses (mean weight, 1764.6 ± 616.9 g; mean crown-rump length, 283.5 ± 38.7 mm; 8 males, 7 females). The ATFL was then classified by the number of fiber bundles: Type I, one fiber bundle; Type II, two fiber bundles; and Type III, three fiber bundles.
Ligament type was Type I in 5 legs (16.7%), Type II in 21 legs (70%), and Type III in 4 legs (13.3%).
The present results suggest that the three fiber bundles of the structure of the ATFL may be an innate structure.