Stabilizing The Ankle

Ankle instability can affect everyday activities such as walking and standing. When an ankle gives out, the stretched or strained lateral ankle ligaments can prevent individuals from maintaining a firm footing. A visit to a podiatrist can determine the severity of the ankle instability and reduce the risk of worsening the damage.

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Do you have a sprain?

Ankle instability can be caused by a sprain in the area. If not healed properly, the instability can become chronic. When injured, individuals can have a hard time balancing and even putting pressure on the affected foot. Rehabilitation can improve the strength of muscles and ligaments in the ankle. If left untreated, the risk of ankle sprains can increase. Frequent strains can cause degradation of the ligaments and cause chronic ankle instability.

Consulting a foot doctor

Seeing a foot specialist can help in diagnosing the severity of the condition. A podiatrist will examine the previous medical history, including ankle injuries and perform a physical examination of the ankle to determine the level of swelling, tenderness, and pain. X-rays and other imaging studies can help determine if the instability is due to a stretch or a tear.

Nonsurgical treatment

Generally, ankle instability can be treated with nonsurgical methods. There are several options for most types of ankle stability problems.

  • Physical therapy involves exercises that help strengthen the ligaments and muscles of the ankle. Ideally, therapy will improve range of motion and balance,
  • Ankle bracing prevents excessive wear and tear by limiting the range of motion. Bracing also prevents the risk of ankle sprains.
  • Medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Orthotics such as supportive insoles alongside stiff-soled shoes can help reduce the pain.

The ankle procedure depends on the diagnosis and severity of foot pain. Nonsurgical intervention is the first line of defense against further sprains and damage.

Is surgery necessary?

Often ankle instability does not require surgical intervention. With chronic pain, surgery may be necessary to reconstruct or repair the damaged ligaments when nonsurgical treatment fails. Visiting a podiatrist as soon as possible can potentially prevent the need for surgery.

After ankle surgery

After the surgery for ankle instability, a cast is required for between 3-6 weeks. Afterward, an ankle brace can be used for about 3 months. In addition, physical rehabilitation can help improve the strength and range of motion in the area. If treated early, the effectiveness of the treatments is generally high.

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