To compare the function and activity level after one-anchor repair versus two-anchor repair of the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) in patients with chronic lateral ankle instability.
All patients who underwent arthroscopic surgical ATFL repair using suture anchors were included in this study. The American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) score, Karlsson Ankle Functional Score (Karlsson score) and Tegner activity score were used to evaluate ankle function at a follow-up of a minimum of 2 years. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan was performed to evaluate the repaired ATFL.
A total of 51 patients with chronic ankle instability were included in this study. Among them, 20 patients accepted a one-anchor repair procedure (one-anchor group), and the other 31 patients accepted a two-anchor repair procedure (two-anchor group). At the final follow-up, there was no significant difference in the AOFAS score between the one-anchor group and the two-anchor group (90 ± 9 vs 91 ± 10; ns). However, the mean Karlsson score of the two-anchor group (88 ± 12) was significantly higher than that of the one-anchor group (80 ± 14) (p = 0.04). There was a significant difference in activity level as measured by the Tegner activity score (5 ± 1 vs 4 ± 1; p < 0.001) between the two-anchor group and the one-anchor group after surgery. Patients in the two-anchor group (68%) had a significantly higher percentage of sport participation compared to those in the one-anchor group (30%) (p = 0.01).
Compared with a one-anchor repair, a two-anchor repair of the lateral ankle ligament produced better functional outcomes. Arthroscopic ATFL repair with two anchors provided a minimally invasive technique with a higher rate of return to sports than repair with one anchor. The present study showed its clinical relevance by maintaining the advantage of ATFL repair using two anchors regarding the clinical function.