Chronic ankle instability (unstable ankle) is a condition characterized by a recurring “giving way” of the outer side of the ankle. It most often develops following an ankle sprain. When the stretched or torn ligaments do no heal properly or completely, ankle instability is often the result.
If you have chronic ankle instability, you may find it difficult to walk on uneven surfaces. Other symptoms include a repeated turning of the ankle during physical activity, tenderness, and persistent discomfort and swelling.
Treatment for an unstable ankle will depend on the degree of instability. Bracing, medications and physical therapy are all conservative treatment options that may help strengthen your weakened ankle. Often patients with ankle instability can be treated without surgery by strengthening the muscles that control the ankle joint; avoiding and or limiting high impact activities; and using a supportive brace to decrease the risk of recurrent ankle sprains.
In severe cases or when conservative treatments aren’t successful, your podiatrist may recommend surgery, which involves repair or reconstruction of the damaged ligaments.
If your ankle feels unstable or if you have had recurring ankle sprains, visit Columbia Podiatry for an evaluation. Left untreated, chronic ankle instability leads to activity restrictions, tendon complications, arthritis and continued instability. Our Irmo podiatrists can provide a recommended treatment plan based on the severity of your instability so that you can get back to the activities you enjoy.