Footballer’s Ankle – What causes it, Symptoms and How to Treat it

Footballer’s Ankle, also know as Ankle impingement, is caused by bone spurs or soft tissues in the front of the ankle that can cause pain and block movement.

Ankle joint movement involves the tibia (shin bone) gliding over the talus which is a dome-shaped bone. The ankle joint is stabilised by ligaments, and is encased in a soft capsule containing lubricating fluid.

Repetitive kicking, bending or twisting the ankle can cause the ligaments to catch and become stretched, making them swollen, inflamed and thickened.

This type of repetitive motion eventually leads to bony spurs forming at the front of the ankle, which can block ankle movement.

Types of Footballer’s Ankle

There are two types of footballer’s ankle:

What Causes Footballer’s Ankle?

Anterior ankle impingement is most often brought about by activities that involve repetitive kicking or extreme upward or downward flexing of the foot. Football is not the only sport affected by ankle impingement.  Dancers are particularly prone to this condition and it also affects athletes in other sports such as volleyball, rugby and sprinting. Anyone who has had an ankle sprain can suffer from anterior ankle impingement.

What Are The Symptoms of Footballer’s Ankle?

How Can Footballer’s Ankle Be Treated?

Diagnosing ankle impingement requires a history and physical examination with imaging to confirm the diagnosis. X-rays and CT scans are used to show bone spurs; MRI or ultrasound provide images of soft tissue impingement and swelling.


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