A lot rides on our ankles - our balance, the health of our knees, our ability to stand, walk and run… You might say they're under a lot of pressure.
Ankles Can Become Unstable
So it shouldn’t be surprising that ankles can become unstable and a bit frail after an injury such as a severe sprained ankle. With each sprain or severe twist, the chance that it will happen again increases. Such chronic ankle instability can be a major problem, particularly for athletes and those with an active lifestyle.
Ankle Instability Is Not Easy To Hide
Patients with ankle instability are usually very aware of the problem. They frequently feel like their ankle is giving way or buckling underneath them when they walk or run, or sometimes even when they're just standing there, minding their own business. It might hurt or become tender, it might swell, or it might just feel unstable.
Chronic Ankle Instability
Chronic ankle instability is often caused by a sprained ankle that did not heal properly, or from repeated ankle sprains that have weakened and stretched the ankle's ligaments. That is why it's so important to see a podiatrist right away when you sprain your ankle, so we can ensure it heals completely and properly.
But even after the fact, there are steps we can take to increase stability. Physical therapy is often a big part of treatment, because it can help strengthen the ankle, improve your balance and help your muscles learn the right way to move again. We also may recommend an ankle brace to support the ankle and knee, custom foot orthotics or anti-inflammatory medications. Surgery is usually only used as a last resort when a ligament needs to be repaired or when the instability is quite severe.