If you’ve suffered from a serious ankle sprain, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.
Foot and Ankle Specialists consider an ankle sprain “syndesmotic” if the injury damages the ligaments of the distal tibiofibular syndesmosis; otherwise known as a “high ankle sprain.” Lateral ankle sprains occur more commonly than Syndesmotic Sprains, though high ankle sprains cause more pain above the ankle joint. Syndesmotic injuries can sometimes evade diagnosis, and physicians may consider the possibility of a Syndesmotic injury in athletes presenting pain around the upper ankle and lower leg.
What Is Ankle Syndesmosis?
Ankle syndesmosis refers to a group of ligaments that connect the tibia (shinbone) and fibula (the smaller bone in the lower leg) in the ankle joint. These ligaments play a crucial role in providing stability and maintaining the proper alignment of the ankle. The syndesmosis ligaments include the anterior inferior tibiofibular ligament, the posterior inferior tibiofibular ligament, and the interosseous ligament. Together, these ligaments help keep the tibia and fibula in proper alignment and prevent excessive movement between the two bones. Ankle syndesmosis injuries typically occur as a result of a high-force or rotational impact to the ankle, such as during sports activities or traumatic accidents. These injuries can range from mild sprains to more severe disruptions of the syndesmosis ligaments.
Indications Of Ankle Syndesmosis
Common symptoms of ankle syndesmosis injury include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty bearing weight or walking. There may be a feeling of instability or a sense that the ankle is giving way.
Diagnosis of ankle syndesmosis injury is typically done through a physical examination by a healthcare professional. Additional imaging tests such as X-rays or MRI scans may be ordered to assess the severity of the injury and determine the appropriate treatment approach.
Treatment For Ankle Syndesmosis
Treatment for ankle syndesmosis injuries depends on the severity of the injury and can range from conservative measures to surgical intervention. Mild to moderate cases may be managed with rest, immobilization with a brace or cast, physical therapy exercises, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain and inflammation.
In more severe cases where there is significant instability or ligament disruption, surgery may be required to repair or reconstruct the damaged syndesmosis ligaments. Surgical techniques may involve the use of screws, plates, or other fixation devices to stabilize the ankle joint during the healing process.
Rest and Recovery
Recovery time for ankle syndesmosis injuries can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the chosen treatment approach. It often involves a period of immobilization followed by a gradual return to weight-bearing activities and rehabilitation exercises to restore strength, stability, and range of motion. It’s important to note that recovery time for ankle syndesmosis injuries can vary depending on the severity of the injury, the chosen treatment approach, and individual factors. It may take several weeks to several months to fully recover, particularly in cases requiring surgery. During the recovery period, it’s important to follow the healthcare professional’s instructions, including the use of any prescribed immobilization devices (such as a cast, brace, or walking boot), adherence to weight-bearing restrictions, and regular attendance at rehabilitation sessions.
It’s worth mentioning that ankle syndesmosis injuries can have long-term implications, such as an increased risk of developing chronic ankle instability or post-traumatic arthritis. Therefore, it’s crucial to undergo proper evaluation, receive appropriate treatment, and follow through with rehabilitation to optimize outcomes and reduce the risk of future complications.