Information for the public
Acute disruption of the distal tibiofibular syndesmosis is an injury to the ligaments in the ankle joint that connect the 2 bones in the lower leg (the tibia and fibula). It is a type of sprained ankle, and often occurs during activities such as sports or dancing, and from falls or slipping on ice. It can cause pain, difficulty in walking, and the ankle to become weak and unstable. Sometimes this type of injury occurs alone, or with a fractured (broken) ankle.
When there is only a sprain of the ankle, it can sometimes be treated simply by keeping the ankle protected, rested and raised up, and by using a compression bandage. If symptoms are ongoing, or if the ankle is also broken, treatment usually involves an operation to fix the ankle with screws. The screws are then often removed in a later operation. Other methods used to fix the ankle include using a bolt or hooks, both of which may also be removed later, and staples or direct repair.
NICE has looked at using suture fixation as another treatment option.
NHS Choices (www.nhs.uk) may be a good place to find out more.