Chronic Ankle Instability

Your ankle is made up of three bones called the tibia, fibula and talus. It is also supported by a vast network of ligaments which connect bone to bone. Chronic ankle instability occurs with recurring giving way of the outer side of the ankle. This can also be known as repeatedly spraining your ankle. This can happen during activity or even just when you are standing. 

People who suffer from chronic ankle instability often report the following symptoms:

  • Repeatedly turning their ankle on uneven surfaces or while playing sports.
  • Pain and swelling
  • Ankle feeling unsteady or like it will give out at any moment. 

Chronic Ankle Instability usually occurs after an initial ankle sprain was not treated properly or did not heal well. When you sprain your ankle, the ligaments are stretched or torn and sometimes your proprioception is also affected. (Proprioception is your brain’s ability to know where your body is in space without looking) If the anke is not supported or treated properly after that initial sprain, the ligaments and tissue that support the ankle can heal into a stretched out position, or at an improper length. This will allow the ankle to “give out” more easily in the future because the structures that protect and hold the ankle stable are not at the correct length. Each subsequent sprain can lead to an increase in instability and increase the likelihood of developing additional ankle conditions. 

Conservative Treatment Options

  • Physical Therapy to strengthen the ankle as well as improve balance and proprioception
  • Bracing. An ankle brace can be used to provide your ankle with additional support and help prevent additional sprains in the future. 
  • Anti-inflammatory medication can help decrease pain and swelling.
  • Good supportive shoes and orthotics to help support your foot which, in turn, will help support your ankle. 

Surgical Treatment Options

 When conservative treatment options are not enough to alleviate pain, surgical intervention can be offered. Oftentimes surgery will include re-constructing the ligaments that support the ankle. 

If you have ankle pain or chronic ankle instability, call 847-380-3700 for an appointment today!