Ankle Instability

What are the common symptoms of ankle instability

If you suffer from ankle instability, the symptoms can quickly become an annoyance in everyday life, and may get worse if the condition is not treated. Instability usually follows a sprain of the ankle.

The ankle will feel weak, wobbly, and untrustworthy. You might experience giving way or rolling outwards a number of times while walking on an uneven surface or while playing sports. If you had an initial ankle injury when the ankle was first sprained then you may feel it has “never been right since”. This feeling of giving may cause you to lose your balance. In addition, your ankle may become swollen. Pain in between episodes is unusual. Being affected by ankle instability is often associated with regular ankle sprains, as the ankle is weakened and therefore less able to carry and balance your weight.

If you suspect you may be suffering from instability, contact us on 020 3962 1279 or email [email protected] and request an appointment to be examined by our specialist team. Once the diagnosis is established, our specialists will help you take the necessary steps to recovery. Failing to treat the condition could lead to more regular ankle sprains, which could further weaken your ankle and make the problem worse.

What causes ankle instability

Ankle instability syndrome is due to damage to the ligaments in your ankle. Strong ligaments support your ankle joint. They hold your ankle in place and stop it from giving way when you walk, run or put pressure on it.

If you twist your ankle, you can injure these ligaments. Many ankle instability cases are the result of an ankle sprain that has torn or stretched the ligaments.

In some cases an ankle sprain may not have been diagnosed properly, or it may not have healed completely.

Your foot and ankle specialist will talk to you about your symptoms and then look at your foot and ankle. They will take X-rays to make sure that the bone is not injured. An MRI scan is the best way to see whether the ligaments have been injured and can also show if there is any damage to the surface of the joint.

If you are diagnosed with ankle instability, you will need to undergo physiotherapy rehabilitation to strengthen your muscles and to improve your balance.

What are the best treatments for ankle instability

There are different approaches to solving an ankle instability problem. The solution employed depends on the specific case of each patient. The preferred approach generally involves physiotherapy treatment, however, there are cases where a surgical operation may be needed.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Physiotherapy involving specific exercises will help to strengthen the ankle, gain more balance and re-train the muscles. You may also need to wear an ankle brace, which will hold the ankle in place. If you are diagnosed with ankle instability then we are able to recommend a physiotherapist who will guide you to recovery.

Surgical Treatments

In more severe cases where the ankle is very unstable, or in cases where the condition persists despite physiotherapy efforts, you might need to undergo an operation. The operation aims to reconstruct and tighten up the damaged ligaments outside of the ankle.

In cases where there are no ligaments left to tighten up, the surgeon may have to use one of the tendons nearby in the ankle. These tendons can be attached to a different part of your ankle, and rebuild stability.

After surgery patients can expect a recovery period where a splint or cast will have to be worn. The recovery period’s length will depend on the specific patient’s case, and on the type of surgical procedure employed.