Ankle Pain

Ankle impingement

What is Ankle impingement?

Ankle impingement is a term usually used to describe soft tissue pinching or impingement between the ankle bones. Ligaments, tendons or other surrounding tissue may get pinched in the ankle, usually as a result of injury or repeated high impact sport.

This can happen at the front of your ankle (anterior impingement) or at the back of the ankle (posterior impingement).

Ankle impingement

What causes Ankle Impingement?

  • Repeated impact activity e.g. sprinting, hill walking etc.
  • Chronic inflammation and thickening of the ligament due to repeated ankle sprains
  • Os trigonum is a bone fragment seen from birth in small percentage of people which may get pinched with activities such as ballet dance

What are the signs and symptoms?

  • Pain with or without swelling in the front or back of the ankle.
  • Pain increases with weight bearing and eases with rest.
  • Feeling of weakness around the ankle
  • An increased tendency to go over or twist your ankle

How do I manage this problem?

  • Activity modification: Ease your activity or sport which increases your pain
  • Ice packs will help to reduce inflammation, swelling and pain
  • Anti- inflammatory tablets such as ibuprofen could help with the pain. Please consult the chemist if you have other medical problems
  • Exercises to improve ankle muscle strength and balance
  • Please download the exercises leaflet from our website

What other treatments are available?

  • Please see your GP for pain relief if your symptoms are persisting over 3 months
  • Your physiotherapist could give further specific exercises and joint mobilisation as required
  • A local steroid injection from your GP or physiotherapist could reduce the inflammation and pain
  • Persisting symptoms over 6 months after considerable trial of all the above warrant a specialist physiotherapist or physician opinion
  • X-ray or MRI scan may be requested as per your clinical presentation to consider for a orthopaedic referral for surgical intervention

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