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4 Things Athletes Need To Know About Ankle Impingement Syndrome

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Ankle impingement syndrome, also known as "athlete's ankle," is a syndrome that can lead to chronic ankle pain. Here are four things you need to know about this syndrome.

What are the signs of ankle impingement syndrome?

While the main symptom associated with ankle impingement syndrome is pain in the ankle, other symptoms can also be present. You may experience decreased range of motion in the ankle joint in addition to your pain. You may also notice that your ankle gets swollen after you exercise. If you notice these symptoms, stop training right away and seek the advice of a podiatrist.

What causes it?

Ankle impingement syndrome is linked to sports that require extreme ankle motions, like ballet, soccer, or downhill running. These sports put a lot of stress on your ankle joint, and over time the ligaments within your ankle can be compressed by your ankle bones. This leads to swelling and pain.

If your ligaments are frequently compressed, they will eventually become thickened and toughened due to inflammation. This scarring of the ligaments is what causes the pain associated with ankle impingent syndrome.

What treatments are available?

Like other sports injuries, ankle impingement syndrome is first treated with conservative methods. Your podiatrist will tell you to take a break from sports so that your ligaments can heal. To ensure that your ligaments are able to rest, your foot and ankle may be immobilized in a cast. You may also be told to use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to treat your discomfort.

If conservative treatments don't work, surgery is the next step, specifically arthroscopic joint debridement. This is a simple procedure that can be done on an outpatient basis. Your surgeon will make a small incision in your skin and then use a tiny camera to see your ankle joint. Next, swollen or scarred tissue will be removed from around your ankle joint. After you've healed, you may need to see a physiotherapist to regain the strength and range of motion in the affected ankle.

Will you be able to return to sports?

With proper treatment, it's likely that you will be able to return to the sports you love. Generally, athletes can start easing back into sports after 4 to 6 weeks of healing, though your podiatrist may recommend a different timeframe based on your individual circumstances.

Most of the time, the prognosis for this condition is good. Studies have shown that about 84% of patients will have either good or excellent post-operative results.

If your ankle is sore, stiff, and swollen, you may have ankle impingement syndrome. This condition is treatable, so see your podiatrist right away. Visit a website like for more information.