Introduction: The literature largely addresses questions of diagnostic accuracy and therapeutic accuracy. However, the magnitude of the clinical impact of syndesmosis injury is commonly described in intuitive yet qualitative terms. This systematic review aimed to quantify the impact of syndesmosis injury. Methods: Published clinical outcomes data were used to compute an effect size reflecting the impact of syndesmosis injury. This was done within the clinical contexts of isolated syndesmosis injury and syndesmosis injury with concomitant ankle fracture. Clinical outcomes data included Olerud-Molander (OM) and American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society (AOFAS) scores, visual analog scale for pain, and days missed from sport competition. Parametric data were compared with Student t tests. Effect size was computed using Cohen’s d. Results: In ankle fracture patients, syndesmosis injury demonstrated a large effect size for OM (d = 0.96) and AOFAS (d = 0.83) scores. In athletic populations without concomitant ankle fracture, syndesmosis injury demonstrated a large effect size on days missed from competition (d = 2.32). Discussion: These findings confirm the magnitude of the negative impact of syndesmosis injury in athletic populations with isolated injury and in ankle fracture patients. In ankle fracture patients, this large negative effect remains despite surgery. Thus, syndesmosis repair may not fully mitigate the impact of the injury.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine