One of the best players on our football team is out with an ankle impingement problem. He's scheduled for immediate surgery. We are mid-season. How long will it take for him to recover, rehab, and return to the field?
Ankle pain from impingement in athletes of all kinds is a fairly common problem. Early recognition and treatment of the problem is ideal. Surgery to remove any scar tissue, overgrowth of synovial tissue in the joint, and bone spurs is the gold-standard of treatment.
Basically, all tissue preventing ankle dorsiflexion (motion of pulling toes and ankle toward the face) is resected (trimmed, cut, or shaved away). The surgeon will examine the joint and surrounding soft tissues for signs of any other injuries. Any damage will be corrected at the same time the impingement is taken care of.
Most athletes are back in full action after this type of surgery by the end of 13 weeks (some as early as seven weeks). There can be complications (infection, temporary nerve injury, excess scar tissue formation) that can delay return-to-sports. Some athletes needed additional ankle surgery later for other problems.
Christopher D. Murawski and John G. Kennedy, MD, FRCS (Orth). Anteromedial Impingement in the Ankle Joint. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. October 2010. Vol. 38. No. 10. Pp. 2017-2024.
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