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Footballer’s Ankle

Whether it’s a Sunday League match or the Champions League Final, every football match has one thing in common: the potential for serious injury.

Of all the bones in the human body, the ankle is one of the most commonly broken.

Studies show that up to 25% of all footballers will suffer from an ankle injury at some point in their career. So what can be done to reduce the risk of ankle injuries in football?

In this blog post, we’ll explore the details about anterior ankle impingement and some of the options available to players, coaches, and teams. From prevention methods to treatments and more, read on to learn more about how to keep your ankles safe on the pitch.

What is Footballer’s ankle?

Footballer’s ankle or anterior ankle impingement is an injury associated with the formation of bone spurs or lumps around or in front of the ankle joint. These bone spurs are osteophytes, a mass of bony lump that grows on the bones of the spines or around the joints. This impingement of ligaments or tendons (thickened tissue) between the ankle bone is accompanied by severe pain and inflammation.

Symptoms of Footballer’s ankle

It occurs in the ankle region when kicking movements are made repeatedly. Some of the most common symptoms of footballer’s ankle or anterior ankle impingement are:


The first and foremost symptom is pain and tenderness over the entire ankle joint of the foot, particularly in the front of the ankle. You will also experience chronic ankle pain as you step forward, pull your toes upwards, or on dorsiflexion and plantar flexion.


Swelling, inflammation, and pinching sensation occur due to excessive or repetitive kicking action because it causes the soft tissues to become pinched and impinged.

Difficulty in movement

You can feel difficulty in movement due to the impingement of the soft tissue in front of the ankle. So as a consequence of distorted ankle range and stiffness in the pinched ankle rate of movement lowers to a great extent.


Weakness of the joints (and other structures associated with them) occurs. It makes it difficult for you to lift heavy weights and you can put a restricted range of weight on your leg bone, hence the weight bear capacity is badly affected.


Clicking, knocking, grinding, or catching sensation is usually observed in the ankle bone(shin bone) while making movements.


The bony lump(bony growth), and bone spur formation (deposition of extra bone) around the ankle joint is a common symptom of anterior ankle impingement.

Gait and balance problems can also be considered the symptoms of a footballer’s ankle.

Causes of footballer’s ankle

We might think that anterior ankle impingement only occurs in a footballer’s ankle. But that’s not true, as it happens due to excessive or repetitive kicking or activities that involve extreme upward or downward flexing of the foot. So any activity that involves the excess use ankle joint can lead to the development of bone spurs in the anterior ankle.

The most common cause of a footballer’s ankle is an injury to the soft tissues or scar tissue. The ligaments (soft tissue) are the strong, fibrous bands that connect the bones in the ankle joint and provide stability.

These injuries can range from a mild sprain, which is a stretch or tear of the soft tissue, to a complete rupture of the ligament. Other causes of a footballer’s ankle include fractures, dislocations, and tendonitis.

Besides, patients suffering from an ankle sprain and scar tissue can also go through anterior ankle impingement.

Who is more prone to Anterior ankle impingement?

Soccer players, athletes of other sports (such as volleyball, sprinting, and rugby), dancers, and patients with a chronic history of ankle instability are more prone to the disorder.

Read more about pain in the front of the ankle here

Reasons why ankle injuries are so common in football?

Ankle injuries are one of the most common injuries in football. They account for almost a third of all football injuries. There are several reasons why athlete’s ankle injuries are so common in football.

  1. One is that the game is played on hard surfaces, which can put stress on the ankle joint.
  2. Another is that footballers are constantly changing direction, which can cause the ankle to twist and turn.

Diagnosis of footballer’s ankle

A bony footballer’s ankle is a type of ankle disorder that is common among football players. A combination of overuse and repetitive stress on the ankle joint causes it. The most common symptom of a footballer’s ankle is pain and swelling in the ankle joint.

If you suspect that you have a soft tissue footballer’s ankle, it is crucial to see a doctor or orthopedic surgeon for accurate detection. They will ask about your symptoms and medical history and may order X-rays or other imaging tests to rule out other causes of your pain.

Once identification of a footballer’s ankle has been made, treatment typically involves rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication.

In some cases, surgery is necessary to repair damaged soft tissue or joint capsule. With proper care, most people with this condition can recover fully and return to normal activities.

Treatment Options

When treating anterior impingement, there are a few different options that can be successful. The first is rest, ice, and elevation. It is often the best course of action for mild cases of an ankle sprain.

Severe cases require surgery or small incisions to repair any torn ligaments or tendons. In either case, physical treatment will likely be recommended to help strengthen the muscles and joints around the ankle.

No matter what type of injury you have, it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible so that an accurate diagnosis can be made and appropriate treatment can be started.

Types of Surgeries for footballer’s ankle

There are a few different types of surgeries that can be performed on a football player’s ankle. The most common surgeries are:


The most common is ankle arthroscopy, which is used to repair damage to the ligaments or cartilage in the ankle. This type of surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis, which means that the player can go home on the same day as the procedure.

Open Surgery

Another type of incision that can be performed on a football player’s ankle is open surgery. This type is more invasive than arthroscopic surgery and usually requires a hospital stay. Open surgery is typically used to repair severe damage to the bones or ligaments in the front of the ankle.

Treatment slowly progresses and recovery from any type of ankle surgery will take some time, but players need to follow their doctor’s orders and rehabilitation protocol to ensure a successful recovery. Most players will be able to return to action within 4-6 weeks after the operation, but it may take longer for some players to fully recover.

Orthopedic treatment

Orthopedic treatment for a footballer’s ankle may include immobilization in a cast or boot, physical therapy, and surgery. The type of treatment will depend on the severity of the ankle condition.

If the ankle is only sprained, meaning there is no bone or ligament damage, treatment may only involve icing, rest, and over-the-counter pain medication. You must consult orthopaedic surgeons in clinics located nearby as first aid to prevent damage to the ankle causing pain.

More severe ankle injuries may require immobilization in a cast or boot to allow the ligaments and bone to heal. Physical therapy may be recommended to help restore the range of motion and strength of the ankle.


Different medications can be used to treat a footballers ankle, depending on the ankle causing pain. For milder injuries, over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can be effective in managing pain and swelling. More severe injuries may require prescription-strength anti-inflammatory medications or even oral steroids to reduce inflammation. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to correct the underlying problem.

If you suspect that you have a footballer’s ankle injury, it is important to see your doctor or seek professional advice for an accurate diagnosis. Once the extent of the injury is determined, your doctor will be able to prescribe the most appropriate treatment plan.

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Exercise To Prevent Anterior ankle impingement syndrome

If you are a footballer, it is necessary to keep your ankles healthy and free from injuries. One way to do this is to perform regular ankle exercises.

There are many different ankle exercises that you can do, but one simple and effective exercise is the towel stretch. To do this exercise, you will need a towel and a chair.

First, sit in the chair and place the towel around your foot. Next, gently pull on the ends of the towel until you feel a stretch in your ankle. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then release. Repeat this exercise 3-5 times per day.

Another good exercise for strengthening your ankles is the calf raise. For this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forward (in the north west direction). Slowly raise onto your toes and then lower back down again. Start with 3 sets of 10 repetitions and increase as you get stronger.

Performing these exercises will help to prevent injuries to your ankles and keep them healthy for years to come.

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There are a few things that you can do to prevent ankle injuries.

  1. First, make sure you warm up properly before playing.
  2. Second, wear proper footwear that provides support for your ankles.
  3. Third, be aware of your surroundings and avoid playing on surfaces that are too hard or uneven.

If you do injure your ankle, it’s necessary to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Ankle injuries can be fatal and can even lead to long-term problems if they’re not treated properly.

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