Ankle joint effusion

Case contributed by Dr Servet Kahveci

Presentation

Twisted right ankle while playing football, local tenderness around medial malleolus.

Patient Data

Age: 16 years
Gender: Male
x_ray

Ankle joint effusion is seen as teardrop-shaped soft tissue density displacing the anterior fat pad on lateral view. Medial malleolus fracture is also seen on frontal view.

Annotated image

Ankle joint effusion is seen as teardrop-shaped soft tissue density displacing the anterior fat pad on zoomed lateral view.

Case Discussion

 

Ankle joint effusion is seen anterior and posterior ankle recesses, because the ligaments restrict medial and lateral expansion of the joint capsule. Therefore lateral radiograph is the best projection for depicting ankle joint effusion. On lateral view, it is seen as teardrop-shaped soft tissue density at the anterior aspect of tibiotalar joint and it is called teardrop sign. 

 

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