High Ankle Sprain

A high ankle sprain occurs when the high ankle ligaments that connect the tibia (lower leg) to the fibula (calf) are torn or damaged. These ligaments are known as syndesmosis. High ankle sprains involve turning the ankle inward or outward while the foot is flexed up.


The syndesmotic ligament is often injured when the foot and ankle experiences a sharp, outward twisting. In most cases, the ligament will tear. In severe cases, a complete rupture may take place. High ankle sprains are less likely to occur than low ankle sprains, and are commonly experienced by athletes.


Symptoms of a high ankle sprain include swelling, bruising, redness, and inability to put weight on the injured leg.


Physicians will review symptoms and medical history to understand what caused the injury to occur. During a physical exam, physicians will look for pain when the foot is twisted or squeezed. Imaging tests such as an MRI may be used to identify a high ankle sprain.


High ankle sprains are usually treated with casts, splints, or braces. Rest, icing, and anti-inflammatory medications are also effective in alleviating symptoms. Physical therapy may be recommended to restore strength and mobility. Surgery is unlikely, but may be required if damage is severe and the ankle is still unstable after conservative treatments.

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