What is superior tibiofibular joint injury?

The superior tibiofibular joint is the joint amidst the tibia and fibula beneath the exterior of the knee. The joint is vital in allowing twisting motions of the leg as well as the transfer of load between the feet and the entire body.

The joint capsules and ligaments bordering the joint provide improved stability during movement and weight bearing. Always bear in mind that the peroneal nerve wraps around the upper part of the fibula and can also be included if there is damage to the superior tibiofibular joint.

What are the causes?

 superior-tibiofibular-joint

The injuries that affect the superior tibiofibular joint may or may not arise along with other knee injuries.

The superior tibiofibular joint is generally damaged after a traumatic occurrence that includes the knee.

Other possible causes of issues in this area include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Fatigue
  • Muscular imbalances in the lower limb
  • Poor biomechanics of the ankle or ankle joint
  • Hypermobility or hypomobility of the tibiofibular joint
  • Repetitive forces on the knee and ankle
  • Physical lesions such as a ganglion

Indications

The injuries that affect the superior tibiofibular joint may or may not arise along with other knee injuries. The indications of a superior tibiofibular joint sprain generally include:

  • Knee pain over the exterior aspect
  • Swelling and/or redness over the exterior of the knee
  • Pain that is worsened by weight bearing activities particularly those involving activities that places significant load on the lower limb such as jumping, running or rapid directional changes
  • Sensation of weakness or the knee is about to “give away”

In case the superior tibiofibular joint and peroneal nerve is involved, there is also a “pins and needles” sensation and/or numbness in the foot and lower leg. In addition, there is also weakness of the foot or ankle.

How is it diagnosed?

Once the injury is assessed, the doctor or physiotherapist will check for indications of injury to the superior tibiofibular joint. Palpation that checks the stability of the joint is required to diagnose the injury. In some cases, an MRI might be required to confirm a diagnosis.

Prevention

Various ways can be done to lower the risk for ending up with a superior tibiofibular joint sprain such as:

  • Correcting poor biomechanics of the ankle or knee joint
  • Wearing proper footwear during exercise
  • Adequate warm-up and stretching before and after exercise
  • Correcting any muscular imbalances in the lower limb
  • Avoid abrupt increase in the intensity or frequency of training

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on superior tibiofibular joint injury is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage this joint injury by taking a standard first aid course with Kelowna First Aid.

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