Ankle impingement is a condition in which abnormalities of bone or soft tissues cause pain and restricted movements of the ankle joint.

It is usually caused by injuries but can also be the result of arthritis and infection.

It is usually classified according to the site of the symptoms. Anterior impingement is felt at the front of the joint and caused by dorsiflexion. Posterior impingement pain is felt at the back of the ankle and is caused by plantarlexion.


Your doctor will probably be able to diagnose ankle impingement from your symptoms and by examining you. However, MRI scans may be helpful in clarifying the exact cause and nature of the impingement such as bone abnormalities, soft tissue thickening and inflammation as well as identifying any other abnormalities such as osteochondral lesions (OCLs)


Non-surgical treatment such as rest, anti-inflammatories, changes to footwear and steroid injections can help to relieve the pain of ankle impingement. They will not, however, alter any significant underlying bone pathology.

If these measures do not relieve the problem, surgery to remove or repair the damaged structures may be considered.

For anterior impingement this is usually performed through an arthroscopic (keyhole) approach.

For posterior impingement the approach may be arthroscopic or open according to the precise nature of the surgery to be performed.