Posterior Ankle Impingement – One of The Most Serious Conditions

The posterior ankle is a highly sensitive but important part of our body and any damage to it can severely impact our gait and ability to walk. If you have experienced any kind of injury in this region, then you may need to get in touch with a doctor for treatment. One of the most serious conditions that can affect your posterior ankle is called posterior ankle impingement. Also known as Ankle Impingement, Posterior Impingement of the Ankle, Posterior Impingement Syndrome or Os Trigonum Syndrome, it is a serious condition that is characterized by pain occurring at the back portion of the ankle. This pain can be caused by compression of bone and/or the soft tissue structures while performing activities that generally involve extreme ankle plantar flexion motion.

The ankle joint consists of the tibia and talus, which effectively glide on one another during motion. The articular cartilage that is present on the surface of the joint perfectly cushions the impact created by the tibia on talus during weight bearing activity. The ankle gets compressed during plantar flexion as it leads to a position where the foot and ankle gets pointed away from the body to a maximum degree. This can eventually lead to pain and tissue damage if such compressive forces are too great or repetitive. Typically, it often affects athletes such as footballers, gymnasts, ballet dancers and cricket fast bowlers. Posterior ankle impingement develops frequently because of inadequate rehabilitation after an acute ankle injury.

The condition is diagnosed mainly with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and X-Rays, or standard ankle radiographs. Once detected, the doctor will first try to conservatively manage the pain, reduce swelling and make sure that all possibilities of further injury are negated. A physiotherapist may use a wide range of treatment methods for reducing pain and inflammations, such as ice, acupuncture, electrotherapy, soft tissue massage, deloading taping techniques as well as temporary usage of mobility aids for off-loading the injured structures. Subsequent to this, the doctor is going to focus on restoring muscle strength to facilitate weight bearing as before. Eventually, the doctor is also going to restore agility, power and high speed to the ankle area. Gradually the patient may return to normal sports and day to day functional activities.

In cases where the above methods fail to produce the desired results, a doctor may recommend surgery as the appropriate treatment measure to correct posterior ankle impingement. However, it should be noted that this is usually not the first method of treatment for this condition. Surgery is able to produce good results, especially for professional athletes who are in pain. The surgical procedure focuses on removing the soft tissue or the bone spurs that is causing the obstacle.