[The syndrome of external ligament sprain in the horse]

Published online: Jun 27 2000

X R Collard, E M Danse, and J J Rombouts.

Service de Chirurgie Orthopédique et de Traumatologie, Université Catholique de Louvain, Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc, Bruxelles, Belgique.


The treatment of acute complete (grade III) tears of the lateral ligaments of the ankle has generated much controversy in the medical literature. Functional treatment has become the standard treatment as it has been shown that there is no significant difference in long term results whatever the treatment (operative repair and cast, cast alone, or early controlled mobilization). Functional treatment includes only a short period of protection by tape bandage or brace and allows early weight-bearing. Major trauma with avulsion of bone and severe ligamentous damage on both medial and lateral sides of the ankle is however an indication for surgical treatment in the acute phase. Secondary operative reconstruction can be performed in case of persistent instability and laxity of the ankle. Secondary anatomic repair as proposed by Brodström, Duquennoy et al. and Karlsson et al. has a high rate of success and avoids the potential morbidity of harvesting partially or totally the peroneus brevis or other tendon grafts. Evaluation of the injured ankle has improved and in selected patients ultrasonography, arthrography, magnetic resonance imaging or bone scintigraphy may be useful for further evaluation of the injury. The frequency of associated injuries has probably been underestimated. Although ankle sprain is often thought of as an injury involving only the lateral ankle ligaments, there are varied and multiple components to the common sprained ankle. This condition would perhaps more appropriately be designated as the sprained ankle syndrome.