Non-surgical Treatment for High Ankle Sprains
Early treatment involves Rest-Ice-Compression-Elevation therapy. Some patients require the support of a removable walking boot brace and crutches to minimize discomfort with early weight bearing.
With stable high ankle sprains, non-surgical treatment is appropriate and physical therapy is initiated early. Recovery from a high ankle sprain takes considerably longer than a standard ankle sprain.
For athletes, return to play can take 6 weeks and is often longer. Stiffness is a common and requires early and extensive rehabilitation.
Surgical Treatment for High Ankle Sprains
For individuals with unstable high ankle sprains, surgery is indicated. Separation of the tibia and fibula just above the ankle joint indicates the syndesmotic ligaments are completely torn and not providing stability.
Surgery involves putting the tibia and fibula back together and supporting them with screws or newer fixation devices which have strong suture-type material. In many instances, the screws are later removed after the ligaments have sufficiently healed.
Patients treated surgically are often kept non-weight bearing for the initial recovery period. It often takes athletes between three and six months to recover and resume running and sports after this type of surgery. In the case of delayed diagnosis or patients whose surgery has lost correction, revision surgery may become necessary.