Chronic ankle instability is a condition associated with the repeated giving way of the outer side of the ankle joint due to ligament damage. This condition can cause significant discomfort and interfere with your ability to do the activities you enjoy. Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle has extensive experience diagnosing, treating, and managing ankle instability to help get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.
Causes of Chronic Ankle Instability
Chronic ankle instability is defined by the outer (lateral) side of the ankle "giving way" on a regular basis. Repeated ankle sprains are a common cause of this syndrome. The "giving way" usually happens while walking or doing other activities, but it can also happen while standing still. Chronic ankle instability affects many athletes as well as others. Chronic ankle instability can have multiple causes:
Chronic ankle instability most commonly arises after an ankle sprain that has not healed properly or has not been fully recovered. When these sprains are not treated correctly, they can lead to long-term problems such as weakness in the muscles surrounding the joint and laxity in the ligaments.
A repetitive strain injury can cause chronic ankle instability if the joint is overworked and not allowed to recover properly. The ligaments become weak from frequent strain and are unable to support the ankle as they should.
People with flat feet often experience problems with their ankles due to the misalignment of the lower legs. This misalignment causes a weakness in the ligaments that hold up the arch, leading to chronic ankle instability.
Common Symptoms Associated With Chronic Ankle Instability
Chronic ankle instability is associated with several common symptoms:
Swelling of the joint
Your ankle may swell after activity due to inflammation from the instability.
Pain with movement
You may feel pain or discomfort when you move your foot in certain directions, such as inversion and eversion.
Ankle giving way
When standing or walking, your ankle may give way unexpectedly due to weak ligaments that can't support it properly.
Diagnosis and Treatment
To diagnose chronic ankle instability, a podiatrist will look for the following:
The podiatrist will examine your foot and ankle to check for swelling, instability, and range of motion. They may also order X-rays or an MRI if needed.
To determine how strong the muscles surrounding the ankle joint are, a podiatrist may ask you to do certain exercises, such as walking on your toes or standing on one foot.
Range of motion test
The podiatrist will measure how far your ankle can move in different directions to check for any limitations due to instability or tightness in the ligaments.
Chronic Ankle Instability Treatment options Include
Bracing or taping
Using a supportive brace or tape helps to keep the ankle joint in place.
Wearing shoes with better support can help alleviate some of the stress on the ligaments and muscles of the foot and ankle.
Exercises that focus on strengthening and stretching the muscles around your ankle can help improve its stability.
The degree of instability or lack of response to non-surgical treatments may lead your podiatrist to recommend surgery in some circumstances. The injured ligament is usually repaired or rebuilt after surgery. Based on the severity of the instability and your level of activity, the surgeon will choose the surgical method that is ideal for you.
Chronic ankle instability can cause long-term problems if left untreated, including an increased risk of further injury and chronic pain. However, with the right treatment plan and lifestyle modifications, you can reduce your risk of re-injury and regain stability in your ankle joint.
Are You Suffering With Chronic Ankle Instability In The Caldwell Or Meridian, Idaho Area?
If you're suffering with chronic ankle instability you owe it to yourself to speak with our experienced podiatrists as soon as possible. Please feel free to contact us online or call our office directly at 208.855.5955 to schedule your appointment. We service all areas surrounding Meridian, Idaho as well as all areas in the Caldwell, Idaho area. We look forward to helping you!