The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics is redefining the way musculoskeletal care is delivered across the region with locations throughout Maryland, DC, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Ankle impingement is a condition that develops when the soft tissues around the ankle joint become compressed, irritated or pinched. Oftentimes it happens when the foot is flexed upwards or bent downwards, leading to symptoms in either the front or the back of the ankle joint. So while you now understand the mechanism of injury, what causes it to develop in the first place, what symptoms present with the condition and how is an ankle impingement treated? We answer all of those questions in today’s blog.
The onset of an ankle impingement is more common in individuals who have suffered acute ankle injuries or sprains that led to the loosening of soft tissues in the area or the formation of bony overgrowths. Impingement tends to be more common in active individuals who are hard on their feet, like dancers, football players and regular runners.
The condition can present on the front or the back of your ankle, and the impingement is classified based on the location of the irritation.
Both types of impingements can also develop in individuals who have a history of foot trauma or ankle sprains, so don’t think it’s something that only develops in athletes. Symptoms of the condition include:
Your doctor will likely have a good idea that an ankle impingement is the problem by talking with you about your symptoms and conducting an in-person physical exam, but they may want to pinpoint the precise cause and location of the impingement with the help of an imaging exam. An X-ray, MRI or CT scan can be very helpful in highlighting these aspects of your impingement.
Treatment typically begins with conservative options, which includes short-term rest, icing to reduce swelling and the possibility of a cast or walking boot to provide further movement restriction for a couple of weeks. Your specialist may also recommend over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications or administer corticosteroid injections to help reduce inflammation in the ankle. Physical therapy may then be ordered to help strengthen the ankle and restore its normal range of motion.
Most patients experience fantastic results with the help of these conservative methods, but if you’re still dealing with major discomfort after weeks of treatment, your specialist may recommend a surgical procedure. Oftentimes an ankle arthroscopy can debride the area of impediments or loose bone fragments that are contributing to your symptoms. This is performed on a minimally invasive basis, meaning recovery time is minimized.
So if you are dealing with ankle pain or a feeling of instability when you flex your foot or point your toes, consider talking with a team of specialists to get to the bottom of your discomfort and to start a course of treatment. For more information, or for help with your foot or ankle issue, reach out to the team at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics today at (703) 584-2040.