The peroneal (fibularis) tendons are held in place within the malleolar groove by the superior peroneal retinaculum. If this is torn, the tendons can subluxate or dislocate. Understanding the anatomy of the region is important for treating these injuries when it becomes necessary to reconstruct the malleolar groove surgically. Serial transverse sections of the groove were cut from 10 dissecting room cadavers after routine histology processing. The structure of the malleolar groove differed significantly in its proximal and distal parts. Distally, the bone is convex and the shape of the groove is determined by a thick periosteal cushion of fibrocartilage that covers the bone surface. Proximally, the groove shape is determined by the bone itself, and the periosteum is thin and fibrous. The restriction of a periosteal fibrocartilage to the distal end suggests that it serves to adapt the shape of the malleolar groove to that of the tendons within it and thus promotes stress dissipation. Paradoxically, however, it increases the risk of damage to subluxated tendons, because these can be sliced longitudinally by a sharp ridge created from periosteal fibrocartilage when the retinaculum is torn. Our results suggest that if bone-block surgical procedures are used to reconstruct the malleolar groove, they are best restricted to its proximal part.
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