Syndesmosis Injury: Causes, symptoms, and treatment

A syndesmosis injury is a type of ankle injury. The syndesmosis is the joint between the tibia and fibula bones in the lower leg.
Steven Tran
October 5, 2022

Introduction: What is a syndesmosis injury?

A syndesmosis injury is a type of ankle injury. The syndesmosis is the joint between the tibia and fibula bones in the lower leg. These bones are connected by a strong ligament called the interosseous ligament. A syndesmosis injury occurs when this ligament is stretched or torn. This can happen due to a fall, twist, or direct blow to the ankle. Symptoms of a syndesmosis injury include pain, swelling, and bruising around the ankle. The joint may feel unstable, and it may be difficult to walk on the affected foot. Treatment for a syndesmosis injury includes rest, ice, and elevation of the injured ankle. More severe injuries may require immobilization with a boot or cast. Surgery may also be necessary to repair torn ligaments.

Causes: What causes a syndesmosis injury?

A syndesmosis injury is a tear or sprained ligament in the ankle. The ligament connecting the tibia and fibula bones is called the interosseous ligament. This type of ankle injury typically occurs during high-impact sports such as football, soccer, or skiing. A syndesmosis injury can also be caused by a fall from a significant height. The most common symptom of a syndesmosis injury is pain outside the ankle. Other symptoms may include swelling, bruising, and difficulty walking. A syndesmosis injury is diagnosed with a physical examination and imaging tests such as X-rays or an MRI. Treatment for a syndesmosis injury typically begins with rest, ice, and elevation. More severe injuries may require immobilisation in a boot or cast. 

Symptoms: What are the symptoms of a syndesmosis injury?

A syndesmosis injury is a sprained ankle. The most common symptom of a syndesmosis injury is pain on the outside of the ankle. Other symptoms may include:

 

  • Tenderness on the outside of the ankle
  • Swelling on the outside of the ankle
  • Stiffness in the ankle
  • Difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected ankle

 

You must see a doctor immediately if you have any of these symptoms. A syndesmosis injury can be diagnosed with a physical examination and an X-ray. Treatment typically involves rest, ice, and elevation of the affected ankle. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to repair torn ligaments. 

Treatment: How is a syndesmosis injury treated?

A syndesmosis injury occurs when the ligaments that connect the tibia and fibula are stretched or torn. This type of injury is most often seen in athletes who participate in contact sports. Treatment for a syndesmosis injury typically begins with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Surgery may be necessary if the ligaments are completely torn. Surgery aims to stabilise the joint by using screws or plates to hold the bones. Recovery from a syndesmosis injury can take several weeks to months.

Conclusion: Summary of article

A syndesmosis injury is a tear of the ligaments that connect the tibia and fibula at the ankle joint. This type of injury is most commonly seen in athletes who participate in contact sports such as football or rugby. Symptoms of a syndesmosis injury include pain, swelling, and tenderness at the ankle joint. Treatment for this type of injury typically includes rest, ice, and elevation of the affected limb. Surgery may be necessary in some cases to repair the ligaments.

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