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J Athl Train. 2000 Jan-Mar; 35(1): 100–102.
PMCID: PMC1323448

Superior Peroneal Retinaculum Tear in a High School Athlete: A Case Report



To present the case of an 18-year-old football player who chose conservative treatment for a superior peroneal retinaculum tear and to review alternatives.


Superior peroneal retinaculum tears are often mistaken for lateral ankle instability. These tears often do not heal readily by themselves and must be identified so that proper treatment can begin.

Differential Diagnosis:

Superior peroneal retinaculum tear, peroneal subluxation, peroneal retinacular avulsion, snapping ankle.


This athlete chose conservative treatment, which may have cost him 4 weeks and the chance to return to his senior season. Surgical treatment can reduce recovery time.


This case history presents an athlete who was thought to have a grade II lateral ankle sprain. After weeks of rehabilitation, pain and effusion diminished, but the athlete was still unable to perform any functional activity without symptoms of pain and catching.


Making the correct clinical diagnosis and understanding the time frame involved in rehabilitative versus surgical treatment are necessary to return the athlete to play in a timely manner.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Arrowsmith SR, Fleming LL, Allman FL. Traumatic dislocations of the peroneal tendons. Am J Sports Med. 1983 May-Jun;11(3):142–146. [PubMed]
  • Sobel M, Geppert MJ, Olson EJ, Bohne WH, Arnoczky SP. The dynamics of peroneus brevis tendon splits: a proposed mechanism, technique of diagnosis, and classification of injury. Foot Ankle. 1992 Sep;13(7):413–422. [PubMed]
  • Geppert MJ, Sobel M, Bohne WH. Lateral ankle instability as a cause of superior peroneal retinacular laxity: an anatomic and biomechanical study of cadaveric feet. Foot Ankle. 1993 Jul-Aug;14(6):330–334. [PubMed]
  • Cwinn AA, Marx JA. Peroneal retinaculum injury: an unusual cause of ankle pain. Ann Emerg Med. 1987 Jan;16(1):105–107. [PubMed]
  • Eckert WR, Davis EA., Jr Acute rupture of the peroneal retinaculum. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1976 Jul;58(5):670–672. [PubMed]
  • Kollias SL, Ferkel RD. Fibular grooving for recurrent peroneal tendon subluxation. Am J Sports Med. 1997 May-Jun;25(3):329–335. [PubMed]
  • Sobel M, Warren RF, Brourman S. Lateral ankle instability associated with dislocation of the peroneal tendons treated by the Chrisman-Snook procedure. A case report and literature review. Am J Sports Med. 1990 Sep-Oct;18(5):539–543. [PubMed]
  • Pöll RG, Duijfjes F. The treatment of recurrent dislocation of the peroneal tendons. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1984 Jan;66(1):98–100. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Athletic Training are provided here courtesy of National Athletic Trainers Association