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Footballer's Ankle - Symptoms, Types & Treatments - The Sajid Shariff Clinic

What is Footballer's Ankle and how can they be treated?

Book a free Intro call today to discuss treatment options for Footballer's Ankle (Ankle Impingement)

What is Footballer's Ankle? (Ankle Impingement)

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.

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?

  • Pain: in the front of the ankle, particularly when the ankle pulled upwards (dorsiflexion), or step forward into a lunge. It can become painful on daily movements such as walking up or downstairs.
  • Swelling: particularly after exercise.
  • Clicking: a clicking, grinding or catching sensation as the ankle is flexed upward or downward.

Different Types of Footballer's Ankle

Types of Footballer’s Ankle

There are two types of footballer’s ankle:

  • Bony Impingement: during repetitive kicking the tibia jars against the talus and reacts by trying to heal itself – producing a bone spur. This bony lump can cause block movement and become painful as the bone spurs knock against each other or can trap soft tissues when the ankle is pulled upwards (dorsiflexion).


  • Soft tissue Impingement: soft tissues such as ligaments or joint capsule can become pinched between the talus (ankle bone) and the tibia (shin bone). It can occur as a result of repetitive kicking or flexing, or after an ankle sprain – when a torn ligament heals with scar tissue formation which makes it thicker and more likely to catch during ankle movement.



Kent’s Holistic Foot & Ankle specialists

The Sajid Shariff clinic is a private orthopaedic clinic based in SE London and Kent that specialises in surgical and non-surgical treatment of foot and ankle conditions including Footballer's Ankle, bunions, plantar fasciitis and achilles tendonitis.

Keep an eye on the shape of your feet; if you see changes see a doctor to find out if there are any recommendations to prevent hallux valgus from forming

Strengthen your feet by exercising them

Wear shoes that fit your feet well and offer good support

Try to avoid shoes that have a heel or pointed toe

Treatment options for Footballer's Ankle

Diagnosing Footballer's Ankle (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.


Exercises and manipulation to improve mobility of the ankle joint.


Steroids to reduce inflammation and plasma (PRP) to aid healing.


Some cases may require keyhole (arthroscopic) surgery.


Book a call with one of our team

Find out how we can help you with Footballer's Ankle with both non-surgery and surgical treatments. Simply fill in this contact form and our Medical Secretary will be in touch to schedule a time that works for you.
  • If you wish to proceed after your Introductory call with one of our team, a face to face consultation with Dr Sajid Shariff costs £200.
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