A syndesmosis injury, better known as a high ankle sprain, is a common ankle injury in cutting and pivoting sports that involve changing directions frequently, such as soccer, football, and hockey.
Signs and symptoms of a syndesmosis injury
Traditional ankle sprains include the very common lateral ankle sprains, which injure the ligaments on the outside of the ankle, and the less common medial ankle sprains, which involve the ligaments on the inside of the ankle. Syndesmosis injuries involve the ligaments between the end of the tibia and fibula. An athlete with a syndesmosis injury usually feels the pain is felt higher than after a routine ankle sprain.
Treatment and return to sports after a high ankle sprain
A syndesmosis injury can often take four to six weeks to heal enough that an athlete can try to return to sports. The treatment of the injury is similar to a traditional ankle sprain. The physician might try an ankle stabilization brace early in the recovery process. Physical therapy can help decrease pain and swelling and improve range of motion. When the athlete is comfortable and can walk better, strengthening and balance exercises begin. The athlete might then be allowed to start jogging before returning to sport-specific drills.
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