Syndesmotic ankle injuries (high ankle sprains) continue to be a challenge for athletes and athletic trainers alike, given their lengthy healing time and the associated discomfort for athletes. Here are some key updates and developments you need to consider when treating a high ankle injury:
Maintaining the Integrity of the Tibia and Fibula
Athletic trainers understand high ankle injuries are often more severe than their lower counterparts and require a longer healing period. The injury occurs when the ankle externally rotates, separating the tibial and fibular malleoli, and potentially stretching or tearing the syndesmosis – the ligaments and membrane that keep the tibia and fibula together. To aid the healing process, the focus should be on stabilizing the tibia and fibula, which in turn reduces the stress on the damaged ligaments and helps manage the pain.
Some modern ankle braces have been designed to provide consistent compression not only around the circumference of the lower leg and ankle but also along the length of the shin. Compression ideally should extend from the ankle joint to at least 10 inches above the malleoli for more effective support of the lower leg and ankle, and better soft tissue stress reduction.
Managing Weight-Bearing Pain
Alongside stabilizing the tibia and fibula, you also need to address the weight-bearing pain that accompanies the injury. When the calcaneus impacts the ground, the force drives the talus into the tibia, causing a separation between the tibia and fibula. This movement results in further stretching of the damaged ligaments and subsequent pain.
Thanks to technological advances, some ankle braces, like the Ultra Ankle® Ultra CTS®, now have enhanced shock-absorbing features to minimize painful impact. They employ advanced materials that effectively absorb and distribute the force exerted on the ankle to the lower leg, thereby reducing the stress on the injured area. This is known as “unloading” or “offloading” the ankle.
The Ultra CTS® (Custom Treatment System) ankle brace has seen continuous improvements over the years and remains one of the trusted choices for acute ankle injuries, particularly syndesmotic ankle injuries. With enhanced compression, improved support, and more efficient impact absorption, this brace can help athletes return to activity more rapidly and with less pain. If you have any queries about how the updated Ultra CTS® can facilitate your athlete’s recovery, feel free to reach out, and we’ll be glad to assist.