High Ankle Sprain: The New Elite Surfing Injury?

Document Type

Journal Article


International Federation of Sports Medicine


Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Exercise and Health Sciences / Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research




Lundgren, L. , Butel, M., Brown, T., Nimphius, S. , & Sheppard, J. M. (2014). High ankle sprain: The new elite surfing injury?. International SportMed Journal, 15(4), 321-327. Available here.


Competitive surfing includes high -risk manoeuvres, such as aerials, that require landing from height onto the water surface, absorbing high loads through the lower limbs. The injuries reported during aerial manoeuvres have been mainly located in the knee and ankle joints; however, there is a lack of information about the types and mechanisms of these injuries. This case report describes two cases of Anterior Inferior Tibio - Fibular Ligament (AITFL), or syndesmosis, injuries that occurred during one professional surfing competition. Video recordings and clinical examination information were used to analyse the two cases. Both injuries were due to unsuccessful landings of aerial manoeuvres , and the video recordings showed similar movement patterns with the landing occurring in an already compressed position. The result suggests that the performance of aerial manoeuvres in competition can lead to high load compression injuries, and that syndesmosis injury may be a typical surfing injury due to the modern type of manoeuvres . This information can be used to direct training interventions and landing strategies for surfing athletes, to make them more effective in coping with the dynamic high load compression forces that occur during aerial manoeuvres.

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