Footballer’s ankle (anterior impingement) occurs when the ligaments or tendons in the ankle become trapped between the bones, causing pinching, or impingement. The condition frequently develops following an injury where the ankle has been repeatedly bent upwards or overstretched. Inflammation of the joint and tendons is caused by bone deposits, which can also be seen as a bony growth at the front of the ankle.
Sufferers of footballer’s ankle experience pain in the front part of the ankle, which worsens when the toes are pointed upwards. This can also be accompanied by a clicking sensation in the front of the ankle when the foot is moved up and down. The ankle may also feel weakened and unstable during physical activities.
Footballer’s ankle can occur when ligaments in the joint become thicker as a result of repeated ankle sprains. The abnormally thickened tissue can then become pinched between the bones, causing pain and further swelling.
A further cause of footballer’s ankle is when a spur develops on the anklebone or the shinbone, caused by repeated kicking actions during which the anklebone makes contact with the base of the shinbone. The bone spur can then penetrate the soft tissue at the front of the ankle, causing inflammation and pain.
Treatment can include one or more of the following:
- Stretching and strengthening exercises
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Wearing a heat retainer or support
- Surgery (if symptoms persist)
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