Syndesmosis injury

The syndesmosis sprain is commonly referred to as a 'high ankle sprain'. It occurs when there is an injury to the ligament between the two shin bones (tibia and fibula). This injury may be diagnosed late and may only be suspected when an ankle sprain is taking longer than expected to recover. A weight bearing XRay and an MRI scan may be required to diagnose this injury.

Mild syndesmosis sprains will usually keep a player out of football for 4-8 weeks. A walker boot may be initially required to stabilise the ankle after a syndesmosis injury. In more severe cases, the tibia and fibula separates which then requires surgery to stabilise the ankle joint. Sometimes a syndesmosis injury may occur in conjunction with a fibula fracture.

Anthony Minichiello of the Sydney Roosters required surgery to stabilise his ankle in 2009 after suffering a syndesmosis injury. Former Wallabies captain, Rocky Elsom, suffered a syndesmosis injury during the 2011 Super Rugby season playing for the Brumbies. Kieren Jack of the Sydney Swans missed several weeks in the 2011 AFL season with a high ankle sprain.
Lote Tuqiri Syndesmosis High Ankle Sprain
Lote Tuqiri of the Wests Tigers is helped off field after sustaining a high ankle sprain (syndesmosis).
(Image sourced from