Chronic Ankle Instability: How to Strengthen Weak Ankles
Chronic ankle instability 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 not 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.
How Can I Treat My Ankle Instability?
Treatment for an unstable ankle will depend on the degree of instability. Bracing, medication 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 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 your podiatrist for an evaluation. Left untreated, chronic ankle instability leads to activity restrictions, tendon complications, arthritis and continued instability. Your podiatrist can provide a recommended treatment plan based on the severity of your instability, so that you can get back to the activities you enjoy!