Ankle instability occurs when there has been repeated ligament trauma (ankle sprains) to the ankle joint. When a sprain occurs, the ligaments are torn and stretched to an extreme level to cause an inflammatory response in the body. Repeated ankle sprains can continue to exacerbate poor ankle stability.
The symptoms of ankle instability can include swelling and continuous pain, ankle turning especially on uneven surfaces, tenderness, or a general feeling of weakness in the ankle.
Your medical professional may also want to know about any previous injuries to the joint that may be causing chronic problems for the joint.
- Physical therapy is the first choice for many practitioners. Physical therapy includes a number of individual treatments designed to improve balance and range of motion in the ankle joint, strengthen and stabilize the ligaments and muscles around the joint, and to identify any supporting muscle and ligament groups that may also require attention.
- Bracing is a common supplementary treatment option for ankle instability. Often used in conjunction with physical therapy, bracing adds additional support to a damaged joint and can significantly reduce the occurrence of an injury.
- Medications are also often used to improve recovery. Topical solutions or medication in the form of pills may be prescribed to reduce inflammation, swelling, and otherwise reduce the amount of pain experienced by the patient.
Surgery is often reserved for a severe or extreme failure in the ankle joint. Surgeries are recommended at the discretion of the medical professional and have a wide-varying prognosis for effectiveness and recovery. Surgeries often require repair or reconstruction of damaged or destroyed ligaments and tissue in the ankle joint. Every situation is unique in its requirements, so treatment may vary greatly.