High Ankle Sprain (Syndesmosis Ligament Injury)

A High Ankle Sprain IS A STRETCH OR TEAR OF ONE OR MORE LIGAMENTS ABOVE THE ANKLE.

What is it?

This is a stretch or tear of one or more ligaments above the ankle. The ligaments form the syndesmosis. They connect the bones of the lower leg (the tibia and fibula) and give your ankle stability. 

What causes it?

How do you get a high ankle sprain? It happens when your foot is twisted so that it turns outward. Often, this injury is caused by high-impact sports when you're running, jumping or changing direction quickly. You'll see these injuries in sports like football, soccer, lacrosse and basketball. The ligaments of the syndesmosis can also be injured if you break your ankle. 

Signs and symptoms

You have pain that radiates up through your leg, especially when you turn your foot outward. Walking up steps can be painful. You may not have much swelling or bruising. Because of this, you may not realize how bad your injury is. 

Non-Surgical treatment

We care for a high ankle sprain much like a common ankle sprain. Things like rest, ice and a walking boot help. Physical therapy can help too but a high ankle sprain may take a lot longer to heal than a common ankle sprain.

Surgical treatment

For a severe sprain, you may need surgery. Norman E. Waldrop, MD has developed a reputation for performing the "tight-rope surgical procedure" in an effort to provide high-level athletes the opportunity to safely return back to their sport in a more timely manner. 

ESPN's Tom Rinaldi takes an in depth look at Tua Tagovailoa's high ankle sprain, the surgery and his status for the College Football Playoff Semifinal

The Foot & Ankle Center at Andrews Sports Medicine provides the most-advanced, comprehensive treatment solutions for injuries and disorders of the foot & ankle. To schedule an appointment, call (205) 939-3699.

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