Anterior talofibular ligament

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 17 Dec 2020

The anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) is part of the lateral collateral ligament complex of the ankle. Its role is to stabilize the talus. It is also the weakest of the lateral collateral ankle ligaments. 

The ATFL is an intracapsular flat two-banded ligament that arises from the distal anterior tip of the lateral malleolus passing anteromedially to the lateral aspect of the talus at the talar neck. It normally measures 6-10 mm long and 2 mm thick. 

The ATFL is classically described as having two bands, but it may be a single band or three bands. One small cadaveric study put the prevalence of a two-band ATFL at ~50% 3.

  • T1: uniformly low signal and thickness 4
  • T2: uniformly low signal and thickness 4
  • most commonly injured lateral ligament in ankle sprains 1
  • ATFL injury

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