Anterior ankle impingement is a condition where an individual experiences pain and catching at the front of the ankle, with movements that require the knee to travel over the toes (dorsiflexion). The pain occurs due to soft tissues or bony structures being pinched at the front of the ankle joint. Find out more about this condition and how we go about treating it at Harris & Ross here-


Your ankle joint occurs where the shinbones (tibia and fibula) meet the talus bone in your foot. The bones are lined with smooth articular cartilage to reduce the impact of the tibia on the talus during weight-bearing activities and to allow smooth movement of the joint. The motion of ankle dorsiflexion places considerable stress on the structures at the front of the ankle. If the forces are more than the structures can withstand then this may lead to inflammation and damage to these structures.


Causes and Risk factors:

A variety of things can lead to anterior ankle impingement, these include:

  • Ankle sprains or repeated ankle sprains
  • Activities that require repetitive dorsiflexion – such as landing and deep squatting

Other risk factors include:

  • Muscle tightness
  • Poor biomechanics (foot and/or lower limb)
  • Joint stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Poor rehabilitation following ankle sprain
  • Footwear or training errors


Signs and Symptoms

Common symptoms of anterior ankle impingement include:

  • Pain at the front of the bony bump (lateral malleolus) on the outside of the ankle
  • Ankle pain may be achey at rest and sharp with impact and activity
  • Catching sensation in the ankle
  • Tenderness over the front of the ankle joint
  • Swelling of the ankle joint
  • Poor proprioception
  • Pain with lunging, deep squatting, landing activities
  • Walking and running will commonly aggravate symptoms



Treatment primarily involves conservative treatment and may include:


  • Stopping aggravating activities
  • RICE
  • Restoring range of movement through ankle joint mobilisations
  • Soft tissue release of tight muscles of the ankle and shin that may be increasing compression
  • Strengthening muscles of the ankle and lower limb
  • Gym based strength work
  • Balance and proprioception exercises
  • Agility and plyometric exercises when appropriate (your physiotherapist will guide you)
  • Sport specific exercises ensuring a phased return to sport


Should symptoms not respond to physiotherapy then surgery may be advocated.

To make an appointment for an initial physio assessment at our Wilmslow, Manchester, Altrincham or Wigan clinics, and discuss a treatment plan for your ankle impingement call Harris & Ross on 0161 832 9000 or click the book now icon below