Posterior Impingement of the Ankle

Posterior impingement of the ankle, or ankle impingement syndrome, is characterized by pain in the back of the ankle joint. It is exacerbated by flexing the foot or pointing the toes downward which compresses the tissue. Symptoms are generally felt in the Achilles area or the back of the ankle and may include a dull ache or sharp pain which increases when touched firmly. Other areas may be the calf or foot.

AnklePlantarflexionActivities that can cause ankle impingement include:

  • pushing off the wall during lap swimming
  • kneeling
  • walking/running downhill
  • ballet positions such as en pointe

Ankle impingement may be caused by bone spurs or arthritic changes in the foot. This fairly unique foot and ankle condition is generally experienced by gymnasts, foot ballers and ballet dancers.

Treatment is usually non-surgical and may include rest and anti-inflamatory medication. If symptoms do not improve, a steroid injection or even surgery may be the best option.

To learn more visit orthopedic surgeon and foot ankle specialist Sean Peden, MD’s blog post – The Fragile Feet: A Ballerina Story