This is where the joint pinches down on itself a the front of the ankle, between the tibia and top of the foot – the talus.
It is a sudden, sharp pain that can leave you limping for a few moments. However, with osteo-arthritic changes in the joint it can be more frequently disabling.
The causes are weakness in the muscles on the inside of the foot which allow the foot to roll in. This twist allows the joint to jam, rather than slide and glide freely – giving pain.
With arthritic changes the space at the front of the joint can become thicker and the pinch happens easier.
The classic ‘Footballer’s Ankle’ is where there is thicker fibrous tissues, and possibly bone at the front of the joint, from the repeated trauma of kicking.
Treatment is to improve the range of movement and strength around the ankle and to break down the thick fibrous inelastic tissues at the front of the joint. This requires a lot of manual therapy as well as exercise, but often the results are excellent.