The Morphology and Distribution of Sensory Nerve Endings in the Human Lateral Ankle Ligament
Introduction : We examined the morphology of the sensory nerve endings in human lateral ankle ligaments electron microscopically and studied the three-dimensional distribution of these nerve endings. Materials and Methods : Three sets of lateral ankle ligaments consisting of the anterior talofibular ligament(ATF), calcaneofibular ligament(CF) and posterior talofibular ligament(PTF) were obtained from cadavers donated for dissection or legs amputated due to injury. The ligaments were stained by a modified Gairns' gold chloride staining method. Serial sections were prepared, and the morphology and distribution of the sensory nerve endings in each section were observed under light and the electron microscopies. Results& Conclusion : In the lateral ankle ligaments, three types of nerve endings were observed ; namely, Ruffini's receptors, Golgi's tendon-like receptors and free nerve endings. In the ATF andCF, many nerve endings were distributed in the proximal part. In the PTF, there was an equal distribution of nerve endings in both the proximal part and the distal part. The nerve endings were more abundant on the lateral side than the medial side. The sensory nerve endings in the lateral ankle ligament may play a role in the movement control mechanisms of the ankle joint.