Posterior ankle impingement

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Posterior ankle impingement is characterized by pain or discomfort at the rear part of the ankle brought about by compression or crushing of the soft tissue or bone during activities involving plantarflexion motion of the ankle.

The injury is common in sports such as football and cricket as well as in gymnastics and ballet. Posterior ankle impingement often develops due to poor rehabilitation after an acute ankle injury. In some instances, the individual might have an anatomical irregularity in the talus bone which is quite normal. Nevertheless, it might increase the risk for the development of the condition especially among individuals who are active.

Sharp pain at the rear part of the ankle joint during activities requiring maximal plantar flexion.

What are the indications?

Individuals who suffer from posterior ankle impingement generally experience the following:

  • Sharp pain at the rear part of the ankle joint during activities requiring maximal plantar flexion
  • Discomfort while at rest or after aggravating activities such as jumping or hopping, kicking a ball, walking or running and activities that requires to go on tip toes.

Management of posterior ankle impingement

Initial phase

Management of the pain is the main objective of treatment.

  • The initial aim is to provide active rest from any pain-triggering postures and movements. This requires avoiding any movement or activity that triggers ankle pain.
  • Apply an ice pack to lower the swelling and pain. The pack should be applied for 20-30 minutes every 2-4 hours during the initial phase.
  • Compression is applied using a compression bandage or stocking for added support and to minimize the swelling.
  • Elevate the affected ankle above the level of the heart to reduce the swelling around the ankle.

Once it is comfortable, rehabilitation is started to restore full range of motion of the ankle. Strengthening of the ankle, calf and foot muscles is also vital to prevent future injuries.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on posterior ankle impingement is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage this ankle condition by taking a standard first aid course with Victoria First Aid.

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