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Anterior Ankle Impingement Syndrome


Updated June 09, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Anterior ankle impingement syndrome is a condition that occurs when bone spurs form in the front of the ankle joint. The bone spurs can either form on the end of the shin bone (the tibia), on top of the ankle bone (the talus), or on both. When the foot is pushed upwards, the bone spurs pinch, causing pain over the front of the ankle.

Anterior ankle impingement syndrome was often referred to as "athlete's ankle" or "footballer's ankle." Anterior ankle impingement is thought to be the result of repetitive microtrauma (overuse injury) to the ankle, although there are other possible causes of the condition.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Anterior Ankle Impingement

The typical symptom of anterior ankle impingement is pain over the front of the ankle joint, especially when the foot is pushed upwards towards the shin. This area is often tender, and occasionally the bone spur can be felt over the front of the ankle.

The diagnosis of anterior ankle impingement is usually made with an x-ray, although other tests, such as an MRI, may be used to confirm the diagnosis and ensure there are not other problems in the ankle joint that could be causing pain.

Treatment of Anterior Ankle Impingement

The usual treatment of anterior ankle impingement syndrome is aimed to decrease inflammation at the site of the impingement. This can be accomplished with rest, oral anti-inflammatory medications, ice applications, heel wedges in shoes, and possibly a cortisone injection.

If these treatments are not successful, a surgical procedure may be considered to remove the bone spurs. Ankle arthroscopy is often utilized in the treatment of anterior ankle impingement syndrome.


Niek van Dijk C and van Bergen CJ "Advancements in Ankle Arthroscopy" J. Am. Acad. Ortho. Surg., November 2008; 16: 635 - 646.

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