PURPOSE To review all paediatric ankle syndesmotic injuries occurring at our institution and identify risk factors associated with operative intervention. METHODS Among 22 873 evaluations for ankle trauma, we found 220 children suffering from syndesmotic injuries (incidence: 0.96%). We recorded demographic data, details of the injury, features on examination and treatment variables. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression modelling was performed to identify risk factors associated with operative intervention. RESULTS The mean age at injury was 15.8 years (8.9 to 19.0) with a median follow-up of 13 weeks (IQR 5 to 30 weeks). A sports-related injury was most common (168/220, 76%). A total of 82 of 220 (37%) patients underwent operative fixation, of which 76 (93%) had an associated fibular fracture. Patients undergoing surgery had a higher incidence of swelling and inability to weight bear (p < 0.001). Statistically significant differences were recorded in tibiofibular (TF) clear space, TF overlap and medial clear space (MCS) between the operative and non-operative cohorts (6.0 vs 4.6 mm (p = 0.002), 5.4 vs 6.9 mm (p = 0.004) and 6.4 vs 3.5 mm (p < 0.001)). Multivariable analysis revealed patients with a fracture of the ankle had 44 times the odds of surgical intervention, patients with a closed physis had over five times the odds of surgical intervention and patients with a medial clear space greater than 5 mm had nearly eight times the odds of requiring surgical intervention. CONCLUSIONS Operative ankle syndesmotic injuries in the paediatric population are often associated with a closed distal tibial physis and concomitant fibular fracture.