Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy

, Volume 21, Issue 6, pp 1316–1327 | Cite as

The deltoid ligament: an in-depth review of anatomy, function, and treatment strategies

  • Ian Savage-Elliott
  • Christopher D. Murawski
  • Niall A. Smyth
  • Pau Golanó
  • John G. KennedyEmail author



A literature review of the deltoid ligament was conducted, examining the current literature on anatomy, function, and treatment strategies. In particular, anatomical inconsistencies within the literature were evaluated, and detailed anatomical dissections are presented.


A literature search was conducted on PubMed using keywords relevant to the deltoid ligament in the ankle and medial ankle instability. Primary research articles, as well as appropriate summary articles, were selected for review.


While it is well defined that the deltoid is contiguous and divided into one superficial and one deep portion, the creation of the individual fibres may be artificial. Furthermore, while improvements in imaging techniques and arthroscopy have not led to a consensus on the anatomy of the ligament, they may help improve recognition of deltoid injuries. Once identified, the majority of deltoid injuries can be treated via conservative treatment. However, reparative and reconstructive treatment strategies can also be used for complex acute injuries or chronic medial ankle instability.


Given the continuing evolution of the anatomical understanding of the ligament, the current treatment protocol for deltoid injuries requires further standardization, with an emphasis on proper diagnosis.


Deltoid ligament Medial ankle instability Ankle 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ian Savage-Elliott
    • 1
  • Christopher D. Murawski
    • 1
  • Niall A. Smyth
    • 1
  • Pau Golanó
    • 2
    • 3
  • John G. Kennedy
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Hospital for Special SurgeryNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Laboratory of Arthroscopic and Surgical Anatomy, Department of Pathology and Experimental Therapeutics (Human Anatomy Unit)University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, School of MedicineUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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