Background

Distal tibiofibular syndesmosis contributes to dynamic stability of the ankle joint and thereby affects gait cycle. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the grade of syndesmosis injury on plantar pressure distribution and dynamic parameters of the foot.

Methods

Grade of syndesmosis injury was determined by preoperative plain radiographic evaluation, intraoperative hook test, or external rotation stress test under fluoroscopic examination, and two groups were created: group 1, patients with grade III syndesmosis injury (n = 17); and group 2, patients with grade II syndesmosis injury (n = 10). At the last visit, radiologic and clinical assessment using the Foot and Ankle Outcome Score was performed. Dynamic and stabilometric analysis was carried out at least 1 year after surgery.

Results

The mean age of the patients was 48.9 years (range, 17–80 years), and the mean follow-up was 16 months (range, 12–24 months). No statistically significant difference was noted between two groups regarding Foot and Ankle Outcome Score. The comparison of stabilometric and dynamic analysis revealed no significant difference between grade II and grade III injuries (P > .05). However, comparison of the data of patients with grade III syndesmosis injury between injured and healthy feet showed a significant difference for dynamic maximum and mean pressures (P = .035 and P = .49, respectively).

Conclusions

Syndesmosis injury does not affect stance phase but affects the gait cycle by generating increased pressures on the uninjured foot and decreased pressures on the injured foot. With the help of pedobarography, processing suitable orthopedic insoles for the injured foot and interceptive measures for overloading of the normal foot may prevent later consequences of ankle trauma.

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