Anterior Ankle Impingement

What is Anterior Ankle Impingement?

Anterior Ankle Impingement is a condition where an individual experiences pain at the front of the ankle, due to compression of the bony or soft tissue structures during activities that involve maximal ankle dorsiflexion motion.

What Causes Anterior Ankle Impingement?

During the movement of ankle dorsiflexion the foot and shin move towards one another, meaning the tibia approaches the front of the talus. This places compressive forces on the structures at the front of the ankle joint. If these forces are in excess or beyond what the ankle can withstand, damage and inflammation of these structures can occur. Repeated compression of the anterior ankle joint can lead to bone spurs on the front edge of the tibia or talus. This process does not have to be associated with arthritis of the ankle joint.

How is Anterior Ankle Impingement Diagnosed?

Anterior ankle impingement can be diagnosed by the typical history and physical assessment findings. Imaging studies including x ray, CT or MRI scan are diagnostic.

What is the surgical treatment of anterior ankle impingement?

In persistent cases of anterior ankle impingement operative treatment may be beneficial, particularly for the high level athlete. Removing the prominent impinging bone spurs or soft tissue structures can help symptoms. The operation is typically done by anterior ankle arthroscopy.