Imagine having a wedding to attend and planning out the perfect outfit, only for your ankle to give out when you put on your shoes…poor timing? Or if a small misstep on an uneven surface sends your ankle out in a spin? If this is constantly happening to you, with constant ankle sprains and always feeling uncomfortable when you’re walking, you’re not alone. This could be a sign of chronic ankle instability.
Let’s see what this condition entails:Chronic ankle instability is a condition that results in recurrent giving out of the outer side of the ankle. This typically occurs while a person is walking, running, or any other activity that requires them to stand on their feet. It is characterised by –
- Repeated ankle sprains
- Chronic swelling
- Wobbly ankles
- Tenderness or pain at the ankle
CausesAn ankle sprain that does not heal completely often results in chronic ankle instability. This is because the ligaments at the ankle are stressed and likely to give out with minimal pressure.
Available treatment options:Thankfully, ankle instability isn’t a debilitating condition. Once diagnosed, a proper management team can handle the case and provide sufficient treatment – surgically and otherwise. A podiatrist is an invaluable part of this team. They can take care of the non-surgical aspect of this treatment plan.
Non-surgical treatment options
- Bracing – a brace provides some much-needed support to an unstable ankle. It also gives the injury a chance to heal properly while allowing you to remain mobile. Let your podiatrist find the perfect brace for you.
- Physical therapy – this isn’t the first-line treatment here because the injury must first be allowed to heal. However, subsequent therapy helps the ankle heal and also strengthens it to prevent future injuries. The podiatrist can give you a great routine to help out here.
- Medications – NSAIDs provide some relief for the pain and also help with the swelling.
- Custom orthotics – these play a huge role in preventing this condition. They provide a stable joint and a means of keeping your ankles stable.
Surgical treatmentThis option is explored when other less invasive options fail to handle the situation appropriately. Surgery here is often a reconstruction of the torn tissue in the ankle. This is followed by therapy to ensure it is strengthened.
Preventative measuresTo avoid ankle instability, sprains must be avoided. Here’s how you can achieve this –
- Do some balance bond training and resistance band exercises to strengthen the ankle
- Do not exercise without stretching
- Be careful on uneven surfaces
- Wear well-fitted shoes
- Talk to a podiatrist for more advice.