A ‘High ankle sprain’ is an injury to the higher ankle ligaments, those which start just above the normal ankle joint and extend up the leg, towards the knee. High ankle sprain is generally a serious condition and more complex than a normal ankle sprain. Because of the severity and the significantly different approach needed for rehab, it also needs to be examined as separate to normal ankle injuries. Sufferers of such an injury are usually out of normal action for more than 8 weeks even with a complete rehab program. The correct term for the injury is a Syndesmosis tear, the Syndesmosis being a fibrous joint where the two leg bones are joined by ligaments or tissue and there is usually little mobility.
What are the causes and symptoms of High ankle sprain?
The most common cause of this type of injury would be when your foot is planted on the ground and then an excessive outwards twisting of your foot occurs, like what commonly happens with football tackles! The symptoms include feeling pain both when you walk and above the ankle, particularly when you rotate the foot in an outward motion. From a visual perspective, there is usually clear bruising and swelling above the ankle, or the ‘High ankle’ area.
Knowing this is my injury what is my best course of action...and what can I expect?
You can, without referral from a doctor directly contact your Physiotherapist, as they are the experts in the treatment and rehabilitation of such injuries. A Physiotherapist, with a special interest in sports injuries, would usually have the greatest expertise in this area. If they suspect a high ankle sprain or Syndesmosis injury they may recommend a ‘mortise’ view on X-ray, CT scan or MRI to confirm the diagnosis. Patients with a high ankle sprain with or without a fracture may at first not bear weight and this will slowly be progressed depending on healing. Normal rehabilitation rules will apply as for normal ankle sprains but would only commence 2 to 4 weeks later. The treatment of Syndesmosis injury is extensive, but the sooner it commences the better the recovery time, so contact us as soon as any such injury occurs and we’ll assist to get you back out there again!
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