PURPOSE: This study aimed at studying the MR imaging appearance of the tibiotalar ligament in asymptomatic volunteers.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fourty-two ankles were imaged on a 3T MR system using proton density weighted images with fat saturation (TR, 2969 ms; TE 30 ms; NA, 2; slice thickness, 2.5 mm). Subjects with acute ankle conditions or history of previous trauma were not included in the study group. Images were obtained in the three orthogonal planes. The posterior tibiotalar ligament was assessed on coronal imaging, by consensus of two radiologists. The signal intensity was recorded as isointense, hypointense, or hyperintense relative to muscle. The morphology of the ligament was classified as homogenous or striated. Descriptive statistics were obtained.
RESULTS: There were 8 men and 14 women with a mean age of 24.7 years (range 19-43 years). The ligaments were classified as hyperintense in 30/42 (70%) of ankles and isointense in 9/42 (21%) of ankles. A striated appearance was seen in 34/42 (80%) of ankles.
CONCLUSION: The posterior deep deltoid ligament is commonly hyperintense. It is usually striated although it can be homogeneously hyperintense. This appearance simulates a tear.