Do you feel like you ankle mobility has been off? When you try and run or jump you feel a pinching sensation in the front of your ankle? You could be suffering from an anterior ankle impingement. The ankle is the joint that connects your foot to the bones of your lower leg. To understand this injury, you must consider how much force goes through the ankle, primarily as an athlete. Sometimes the ankle joint is not able to handle the force. Anterior ankle impingement occurs when the ankle is flexed and you feel the front of ankle pain.
Anterior Ankle Impingement Anatomy
Ankle impingement problems come from the ankle being under stress at the max ends of its mobility. For anterior ankle impingement, it is when you are accelerating and pushing yourself forward, for posterior impingement it is when you are doing things like kicks or going on your toes like a dancer. When you are in these extreme positions, the tissue between the tibia and the talus can get pinched and become irritated.
Anterior ankle impingement is common among athletecs that run or have to accelerate a lot. You will often see sprinters, soccer players and football players with this issue because of all the acceleration. If the injury is not taken care of it can quickly lead to bone spurs in the ankle joint space. These bone spurs require minor surgeries to get rid of.
Causes of Anterior Ankle Impingement or Front of Ankle Pain
Anterior ankle impingement is often the result of having a loose ankle joint. The way an ankle joint becomes loose is by having repeated ankle sprains that are not taking care of correctly. This is the reason that we often recommend that you see a professional when you get hurt. When you do not fix injuries the right way, you open yourself up to more injuries in the future.
The repeated ankle sprains leave your ankle ligaments loose. The extra room in the ankle joint allows for pinching of the tissue in the joint. The damage to the ligaments can create scaring and inflammation that makes them take up even more space while limiting your ankle mobility. Any movements that require dorsiflexion become affected including, running, jumping and using stairs.
Symptoms of Anterior Ankle Impingement or Front of Ankle Pain
- Pain in the front of the ankle
- Instability in the ankle joint
- Decreased ankle range of motion when pulling toes towards shins
- Pain touching the front of the ankle
Treatment of Anterior Ankle Impingement or Front of Ankle Pain
It is essential that you see a sports medicine healthcare provider when dealing with ankle impingement issues. The reason is that it is an athletic injury and secondly is the fact that they will be able to serve you better. A family doctor will most like tell you to ice and rest which will only treat the symptoms not the cause of the injury.
When you see a healthcare provider, they will first examine your history and ask you a question about when the pain started and how it feels. They will then begin a physical examination to figure out what movements hurt and where you feel the pain. They will test your ankle joint for things like strength, stability, and range of motion. If you see a sports medicine doctor, they may recommend you get an X-ray or an MRI for a better understanding of what is going on.
How Healthcare Providers Can Help You With Anterior Ankle Impingement or Front of Ankle Pain
Pain Managment – One of the reasons most people seek answers for injuries is because they feel pain and want it to go away. A healthcare provider will start by helping you deal with the pain you are feeling.
Rehab – The rehab may include working on an old ankle injury that was not taken care of properly. The great thing about going through rehab is that you will know what you need to do on your own if the injury is to ever come back in the future.
Manual Therapy – Manual therapy can change how your ankle feels in an instant. A healthcare provider that knows how to do joint mobilizations can create the space in that ankle joint that you are looking for.
Prevention of Anterior Ankle Impingement or Front of Ankle Pain
A lot of prevention of this injury starts with creating or more stable ankle. Doing single leg balance work and using a TheraBand like a picture below will go a long way. Once the ankle has that jammed feeling, there is not a lot you can do on your own to fix it. The best way to deal with this injury is to take care of your ankles every day.
Finding The Best Local Sports Medicine Providers for Anterior Ankle Impingement
Kho Health is the best place to start your search for a health care provider to help you stay healthy. The key to success as an athlete is staying healthy and making sure the injuries are dealt with appropriately. Any athlete that runs is at risk of this front of ankle pain.
Kho Health lets you search for providers by type and skill. For example, you can look for a Physical Therapist that knows the Active Release Technique. It does not matter what kind of provider you need, Kho Health can help you find them and help you to sort through their skills.
If you are unsure where to start your journey, Kho Health will ask you questions and help you figure out the best starting place. All you have to do is answer a few questions. From there Kho Health will connect you with the type of provider best suited for your needs. It does not matter if you are injured or doing everything you can to prevent an anterior ankle impingement.
The platform makes it easy . compare health providers as they are all given a Kho Number. Once you are shown the best local options, how do you know which is the best? Reading bios and reviews is just not enough because you need more than that.
Skill Sets to Look for In Sports Medicine Providers
Skill sets are the things healthcare providers learn after they graduate. A healthcare provider can take courses and get certifications for different skill sets. These skill sets are valuable and help them approach injuries from different perspectives so that you can get the best help at the right time for any anterior ankle impingement or front of ankle pain.
- Dry needling
- Joint Manipulation
- Active Release Technique
- Graston Technique
- Functional Movement Screen
- Fascial Stretching
- Strength and Conditioning Coach
- Athletic Trainer
- Sports Background
- And many more