Syndesmotic Sprains (High Ankle Sprains)

Syndesmotic Sprains (High Ankle Sprains)


Often in sports it’s referenced that there are both ankle sprains and high ankle sprains but what is the difference & why does a high ankle sprain take so much longer to recover from?



A high ankle sprain is related to the syndesmosis joint of the distal tibiofibular joint which is responsible for holding the two bones of your lower leg together. A typical ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments that stabilize the tibia and fibula to the talus, also called the ankle mortise joint, are torn.


A high ankle sprain is more serious due to the tearing of the membrane that usually prevents the separation of the two lower leg bones that occurs with every step you take. In order to prevent further separation from occurring, many athletes with high ankle sprains are placed into a non-weight-bearing walking boot for at least two weeks before they can be weight bearing again.


Complete ruptures of this membrane requires surgical intervention and a much longer return to play protocol. Programs to help strengthen the ankle as well as appropriate bracing/taping techniques that help reduce the likelihood of this injury will be demonstrated in future posts!


Featured Image By: Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute

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