Objective: Present a clinical case detailing the assessment and management of a collegiate football player suffering from the fracturing of a heterotopic ossification of the syndesmosis. Background: Heterotopic ossifications are not uncommon following surgical fixation of the tibiofibular syndesmosis. Typically, properly healed fibular fractures do not result in further complications associated with heterotopic ossification. Treatment: A 21-year-old collegiate football player (1.8 m, 77.1 kg) reported to the athletic training staff complaining of acute lateral ankle pain following a plant and twist mechanism while running receiving routes. Initial evaluation led to a diagnosis of a syndesmotic ankle sprain, with a plan to pursue conservative management. When patient was unable to participate in the following practice due to intensity of pain, the patient was referred for x-rays a revealed poorly healed Weber Type C fracture that had been mislabeled as a Maisonneuve fracture at the patient’s previous university. This previous injury led to a heterotopic ossification of the syndesmosis that had fractured during the more recent injury. With this new diagnosis, the patient consented to conservative treatment that allowed the patient to return to football activities the following offseason. Uniqueness: While heterotopic ossification of the ankle syndesmosis has been reported in literature, there has yet to be extensive research on the condition. Generally, when these ossifications become symptomatic best practices involve surgical removal. In spite of presenting with symptoms, the patient was able to return to full participation following conservative treatment. Conclusion: When providing patient care, accurate diagnosis is crucial to optimal outcomes. Caring for patients in a collegiate setting presents a unique number of instances of patient care transfer, which may make previous misdiagnosis hard to recognize. Diligent health care practitioners should always ensure that a comprehensive medical history is obtained in order to make an accurate assessment.

Keywords: Heterotopic ossification, syndesmosis, ankle

HO Fracture.jpg (90 kB)
Figure 1. Radiograph revealing broken syndesmotic screws from previous surgery and fractured heterotopic ossification of the syndesmosis.

Ankle Traction.jpg (294 kB)
Figure 2. Demonstration of theraband traction array for ankle exercises.

MS#1154 Letter to Reviewers Final.docx (15 kB)
Letter to Reviewers