Medical Issue

Chronic Ankle Instability

Chronic Ankle Instability

Chronic ankle instability is defined as repeated ankle sprains with many instances of the ankle “giving way.” This is often seen in dancers or athletes. The instability results when the ligaments are repeatedly injured and stretched out which makes them less functional.

Symptoms

Likely symptoms include pain and swelling in the ankle area. Patients may also experience persistent pain, recurrent sprains, and feeling the ankle “giving way.” If the sprains are severe enough, there may be numbness in certain areas around the ankle that typically goes away over time.

Risk Factors

Previous ankle injuries, most commonly ankle sprain, often lead to chronic ankle instability. When the ligaments of the foot become compromised, they are unable to function as they normally do after being overextended multiple times. Being highly flexible or having a high arched foot can increase the chances of developing ankle instability.

Causes

Chronic ankle instability often results from multiple moderate ankle sprains or a single severe ankle sprain. Athletes involved in sports that involve quick direction changes are more likely to experience an injury leading to ankle instability. Dancers, especially ballet dancers "en pointe" are likely to develop chronic ankle instability as a result of multiple moderate ankle sprains or a single severe ankle sprain. Anyone who injures an ankle multiple times may develop other possible secondary conditions years later such as arthritis or tendon irritation. Wearing high heeled shoes increases the likelihood of falling which can result in twisted ankles and eventually ankle instability.

Treatment

For recent injuries, treatment options include foot compression wraps, icing, and anti-inflammatory medication. Other possible solutions such as bracing or physical therapy are options, however, for many cases, particularly ones where symptoms have been experienced for over six months, surgical solutions are often recommended. The surgical procedure involves reconstructing ligaments by either using the body's torn ligaments or using surgical materials to rebuild the ligaments to function more like they did before injury.

The Concierge Podiatry Advantage

Because chronic ankle instability is such a common patient issue, at Concierge Podiatry we have developed a special treatment regimen that restores the ankle's strength and stability faster. By combining several treatment options, for most patients we can do so without the inconvenience of bulky immobilization and casting while enabling patients to quickly return to full activity with fewer restrictions. As always, we take the time needed to diagnose and explain treatment options before beginning any course of treatment.

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