Ankle bone spurs is a condition that occurs when an extra bone grows in front of the ankle joint. It usually develops just in front of the ankle joint at the point where the leg bone ( the tibia ) meets the ankle bone ( the talus ). This condition is also known as footballer’s ankle, athlete’s ankle, or medically as anterior ankle ‘bony’ impingement syndrome.
The bone spurs can either occur from the tibia, the talus or both. When the foot is moved upwards, the bone spurs knock on each other, resulting in severe pain and inflammation over the front of the ankle. There is a sensation of pinching or impingement of the tendons, ligaments or the capsule.
One of the commonest causes of ankle bone spurs is osteoarthritis, a common type of ‘wear & tear “ arthritis. This condition can cause the cartilage between bones to worsen with time. The body develops extra growth of bones to compensate for missing cartilage, minimize motion in the ankle thereby reducing any pain from the ankle.
Aside from osteoarthritis, other factors can cause ankle bone spurs. Another common reason is ankle instability from repeated ankle sprains or repeated exercises that involve ankle flexion & extension.
Bone spurs can sometimes occur after deformity in the ankle, for example, after fractures or severe ligament injuries that have healed in an abnormal position.
Bone spurs are often common in the foot and ankle, but they can develop in other parts of the body such as the hips, spine, shoulder, and knees.
The symptoms of ankle bone spurs vary and differ from person-to-person. The following are the signs and symptoms of ankle bone spurs:
Many factors can increase the risk of developing a bone spur in the ankle. The factors include:
The diagnosis of ankle bone spurs is usually made with an X-ray. Other imaging tests like the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and CT (Computed Tomography) scan may be used to confirm the severity of the diagnosis and ensure there are no other pain-causing problems in the ankle joint. (such as cartilage defects or ligament tears ).
The primary aim of the treatment of ankle bone spurs is to decrease inflammation at the area of the impingement. To achieve this, the following treatments should be adopted: