What is a Syndesmosis Injury?

Syndesmosis injury is a little-known injury that makes up only 1-18% of all ankle sprains but affects up to 32% of all athletes. Syndesmosis injury in the ankle occurs when the ligaments between the ends of the lower leg bones (fibula and tibia) are torn. These ligaments are important for maintaining ankle structure and providing stability to the ankle joint.

How do syndesmosis injuries occur?

  • When the foot is rolled inwards and the ankle outwards.
  • When the leg is twisted over the top of a foot that is planted flat on the ground.
  • When the foot is jammed upwards.

The people who are most at risk of sustaining this injury are those who play sports that involve changing directions and planting the foot. These are sports such as rugby, football and skiing.

A common cause of this injury is when the foot is caught under you during a tackle. This causes the leg to rotate internally while the foot is fixed or stuck in the turf in external rotation. Another common cause is when there’s a blow to the knee while the body is rotated internally, and the planted foot is rotated externally.

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Syndesmosis injury treatment

At Sports Focus, our physiotherapists are trained in a range of techniques, allowing them to accurately diagnose your condition. Syndesmosis injury treatment often involves physiotherapy without surgery, and the patient might be required to use crutches or a moonboot until their condition improves. Input from an orthopaedic foot and ankle specialist might be necessary. A long-term management plan may include balance and strength training, as well as strapping where appropriate.

If you believe you have suffered from a syndesmosis injury and you’re having issues with your rehabilitation, please get in touch with Sports Focus Physiotherapy. Book your appointment online today.