Ankle Impingement Syndrome Symptoms and Treatment

What is Impingement?

Impingement is a term used in sports medicine when soft tissue is trapped, usually between bones, leading to pressure, inflammation, pain and loss of function.


What is Anterior Impingement Syndrome?

Anterior ankle impingement syndrome is a condition where bone spurs or osteophytes form in the front (anterior) of the ankle joint leading to chronic ankle pain. Bone spur can form to the front end of the tibia (shin bone), on top of the ankle bone (talus) or both. When foot is push upward (dorsiflexed), the bone spurs pinch the soft tissue, causing pain and inflammation. Anterior ankle impingement syndrome is also knows as “footballer’s ankle” or “Athlete’s Ankle”.


What Causes Anterior Impingement Syndrome?

Anterior impingement syndrome is thought to be caused by repetitive micro-trauma where the ankle goes thought extreme up motion (dorsoflexion) or extreme down (plantarflexion) motion. Typical sports would be American football, basketball, soccer, ballet and runners.


What are symptoms of Anterior Impingement Syndrome?

  • Pain over the front of the ankle joint
  • Pain is reproduced when the foot is pushed upwards towards the shin.
  • Front of the ankle joint is often tender
  • Bone spur may or may not be felt over the front of the ankle.


How is Anterior Impingement Syndrome Diagnosed?

  • X-ray usually is all needed to evaluated the ankle joint for bone spurs.
  • MRI may be used to confirm diagnosis or rule out other problems.


How is Anterior Impingement Syndrome Treated?

Treatment of anterior ankle impingement syndrome is aimed to reduced inflammation and pain. Treatment may include:

  • Icing the area
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Heel lift shopping cart
  • Topical pain relieving gel shopping cart


If conservative treatment options fail, surgical procedure may be considered. Ankle arthroscopy is ofter utilized to remove the bone spurs.


Image of Ankle Impingement Syndrome:

Anterior Ankle Impingement Syndrome

Definition: Dictionary of Sport and Exercise Science and Medicine by Churchill Livingstone © 2008 Elsevier Limited. All rights reserved.