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California Foot & Ankle Institute

Ankle Instability

ankle braceFrom friends to phones, dependability is one of the most prized characteristics we search for. We want things to “just work,” and keep on doing so for as long as possible. And if, for some reason, something gives out on us, it can come as quite a shock—especially if it’s our own bodies! Ankle instability can throw a shadow of doubt upon our most basic functions of standing and moving upright. If it is happening to you, there are treatments that can help restore faith in your feet.

Stretched and Unstable

The ligaments and connective tissues in our ankles can be thought of much like rubber bands. When strong and healthy, they can hold things in place rather well. Overstretch them, however, and they can lose their elasticity or tear, growing weaker.

Sprains are the most common culprit for ankle instability. Ligaments that suffer overstretching or tearing during a sprain may not heal fully or correctly, leaving vulnerability that can cause the ankle to turn out and “give way.” Unfortunately, suffering an ankle sprain often makes you more likely to sprain your ankle again in the future, increasing the odds of wearing out your ligaments to the point of causing instability and other issues.

A turning of the ankle caused by instability can occur just about any time, but is more prone to happen on uneven surfaces, when participating in sports, or while wearing high heels. The condition can also be accompanied by a general feeling of uneasiness or “wobbliness” when bearing weight on the joint. There may also be pain, tenderness, discomfort, or swelling, often on the outer side of the ankle.

Going Steady

improving ankle stabilityIf your ankle is not as reliable as it once was, let the doctors at California Foot and Ankle Institute have a look. We will examine your ankle for signs of weakness and tenderness, as well as ask about your history of previous injuries to the area.

Treatments for ankle instability will depend on the severity of the condition and your level of activity, but non-surgical treatments will most likely be recommended first. Conservative therapies will involve supporting and strengthening the ankle. Physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises can work to not only strengthen the muscles, but also to help retrain and restore range of motion. If you are an athlete moving through this kind of therapy, exercises relating more specifically to your sport might be added over time.

In some cases, an ankle brace may be prescribed to prevent the ankle from giving out and avoid further sprains. Anti-inflammatory medications can also help reduce any pain or inflammation, but a steroid injection may be considered if discomfort is severe.

If you have major instability or conservative treatments don’t work, surgery to repair the ligaments may then become an option.

For ankle instability, you can rely on our expert doctors and staff to help you regain your footing. Schedule an appointment with one of our two friendly offices by calling (949) 833-3406 for Irvine and (760) 951-2000 for Victorville. You can also call us toll-free at (888) 796-6631.

Photo Credit: Artur84 via FreeDigitalPhotos.net