High Ankle Sprain
AKA High Ankle Sprain
A high ankle sprain — also referred to as a syndesmotic ankle sprain — occurs at the ligaments that bind the distal tibia and fibula at the Distal Tibiofibular Syndesmosis, which is a syndesmotic joint.
Usually a high ankle sprain happens from an extreme external rotation of the talus. The talus is a large bone that sits below the tibia and the fibula at the top of the ankle. When the talus ankle rolls externally, it can separate the distal fibula from the tibia enough to rupture one or more of several possible ligaments.
We often see this type of ankle injury occur to football players as the result of rough contact. The ankle may undergo injury from forced external rotation to the ankle when a player is being tackled. A high ankle sprain might also occur from a hit to the lateral knee while the foot is planted with the ankle dorsiflexed, or pointed upward. In skiing, a high ankle sprain usually occurs because of the constraint of the ski boot.
The boot prevents dorsi- or plantar-flexion movement, which can cause excessive external rotation that injures the anterior or posterior tibiofibular ligament, or the interosseous membrane.
Overall, a high ankle sprain isn’t as common as a lateral ankle sprain in athletes, but it’s still expected to see this injury in these particular sports. Professional American football players are especially at risk.
If you’ve injured your ankle, you’ll need a careful exam to receive the correct diagnosis. First, we’ll want to make sure that there is no fracture. Next, we’ll need to rule out other pathologies, including the lateral ankle sprain.
We are able to distinguish a high ankle sprain from another type of ankle injury using several factors. For one thing, a syndesmotic ankle sprain results in much less swelling than a lateral ankle sprain. Patients who are dealing with a high ankle sprain will frequently be unable to toe walk and will be unable to bear weight on the foot. The injury can also prevent the full plantar flexion.
When you’ve been diagnosed with a high ankle sprain, the team at MOTUS will work with you on decreasing pain and swelling, improving range of motion, and protecting your ankle from further injury. Your physical therapist will walk your through techniques and exercises that are specially designed to help strengthen ligaments and muscles, and prevent reinjury. We have helped many athletes return to their sport after a high ankle sprain, and are confident that our rehabilitation techniques can help you too.