‘Ankle Pain & Swelling with Walking – Ankle Impingement’
Ongoing ankle pain is something that we might simply write-off as Old-age or arthritis or misdiagnose the injury as remnants of an ankle sprain. However, the most common cause of chronic ankle pain at the front of the ankle is a condition known as Anterior Impingement Syndrome. It is a condition of the ankle that is caused by a history of recurrent ankle sprain injuries and by activities such as running and football that cause repetitive force into the ankle joint. Pain is felt at the front of the ankle when walking or running and there is often visible swelling at the front of the ankle joint after a long walk.
The impingement occurs between the bottom of the shin bone (tibia)and underlying adjoining bone known as the talus. This joint is known as the talotibial joint and it where our movement of bending the ankle inwards and outwards occurs. The impingement can be caused by a boney build of bone known as an Osteophyte formation or alternative by excessive scarring of the ligament that joins the base of tibia abd fibula bones together, know as the Anterior Inferior Tibiofibular Ligament (AITFL). When this AITFL ligament is torn or strained, it goes through process with involves laying down scar tissue and overtime with repetitve ankle sprains there is excessive scar tissue causing a restriction or impingement to develop.
Similarly the boney impingment forms due to disfunctional healing system of the fibrocartilage that acts as a cushion between the base of the bone (tibia) and its underlying talus. In this case it can simply be repetitive impact of the bones of the tibia and talus rubbing off each other during long walks or running that causing joint trauma due to poor shock absorption within the joint. This is followed by excessive laying down of new repair bone causing a pebble like restriction to form between the base of the Tibia and Talus bones. The end result is pain at the front of the ankle joint due to this restriction.
Tomás Ryan is a Registered Physical Therapist with The Irish Association of Physical Therapy and is based in Thurles.
Contact Number: 0504 26672
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