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ANKLE INSTABILITY

Ankle instability refers to a condition where the ankle joint becomes less stable than normal, often as a result of previous ankle injuries, particularly repeated ankle sprains. It can lead to a feeling of the ankle "giving way" or being unable to provide proper support during activities that involve weight-bearing or changes in direction.

WHAT IS ANKLE INSTABILITY?

 

Ankle instability refers to a condition where the ankle joint becomes less stable than normal, often as a result of previous ankle injuries, particularly repeated ankle sprains. It can lead to a feeling of the ankle "giving way" or being unable to provide proper support during activities that involve weight-bearing or changes in direction.

There are two main types of ankle instability:

  1. Functional Ankle Instability: This type of instability occurs when the ligaments around the ankle joint are stretched or weakened due to previous injuries, particularly repeated ankle sprains. As a result, the ankle may feel unstable, and the person might experience recurring episodes of the ankle rolling or twisting during activities. This instability is more related to a sense of imbalance and is often accompanied by a feeling of insecurity when standing or moving.

  2. Mechanical Ankle Instability: Mechanical instability is caused by structural abnormalities within the ankle joint, such as damage to the ligaments, tendons, or joint surfaces. This can result from severe ligament tears or other structural issues that compromise the normal stability of the joint. Mechanical instability might cause physical limitations in the range of motion and can be associated with persistent pain and difficulties performing everyday activities.

Ankle instability can be problematic as it increases the risk of further injuries, including more sprains, strains, or even fractures. It can also lead to chronic pain, decreased mobility, and reduced participation in physical activities. Management of ankle instability typically involves a combination of conservative treatments, such as physical therapy to strengthen the ankle muscles and improve stability, as well as proprioceptive exercises (balance and coordination training) to enhance joint control.

In some cases, if conservative treatments are not effective or if the instability is severe, surgical options might be considered.

If you suspect you have ankle instability or if you've experienced repeated ankle sprains, it's important to consult a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist, orthopedic specialist or a physio therapist, for a proper evaluation and personalised treatment plan.

How can you treat Ankle Sprain?

Treating ankle instability involves a combination of approaches aimed at improving the stability of the ankle joint, reducing symptoms, and preventing further injuries. The specific treatment plan will depend on the severity of your instability, the underlying causes, and your individual needs.

 

Here are some common treatment strategies:

  1. Physical Therapy: Working with a physical therapist is often a cornerstone of treatment for ankle instability. A physical therapist can assess your condition, design a personalised exercise program, and guide you through proper techniques. This program may include:

    • Strengthening exercises for the muscles around the ankle, including the calf, shin, and foot muscles.

    • Proprioceptive and balance training to enhance joint awareness and control.

    • Range of motion exercises to maintain flexibility.

    • Functional exercises that simulate real-life activities to improve stability during daily tasks and sports.

  2. Bracing or Taping: Depending on the severity of your instability, your healthcare provider may recommend wearing an ankle brace or using taping techniques to provide external support and limit excessive movement.

  3. Footwear and Orthotics: Wearing supportive footwear that provides proper arch support and ankle stability can be beneficial. Custom orthotics might also be recommended to address any underlying foot alignment issues.

  4. Activity Modification: Avoid high-risk activities that could exacerbate your instability, especially during the early stages of treatment. Gradually reintroduce activities as your ankle stability improves.

  5. Pain Management: If you experience pain or discomfort, over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatory medications might be recommended by your healthcare provider to manage symptoms.

  6. Surgical Intervention (in severe cases): Surgery is generally reserved for cases of chronic or severe ankle instability that do not respond to conservative treatments. Surgical options may include repairing or reconstructing damaged ligaments, addressing structural abnormalities, or stabilising the joint through various surgical techniques.

  7. Functional Rehabilitation: Once you've made progress in your treatment plan and your ankle stability has improved, your physical therapist or healthcare provider may guide you through functional rehabilitation exercises that mimic specific activities or sports you want to engage in. This helps ensure your ankle is prepared for the demands of your chosen activities.

  8. Long-Term Maintenance: Even after your symptoms improve, it's important to continue with exercises and strategies to maintain ankle stability and prevent future injuries.

Remember, the best treatment approach will depend on your individual situation. It's important to consult a healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist, orthopedic specialist or a physio therapist, to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your ankle instability.

 

We can help create a tailored approach to address your unique needs, lifestyle, and goals.

THINK YOU MAY HAVE ANKLE INSTABILITY?
GET BOOKED IN FOR A BIOMECHANICS APPOINTMENT

£105.00

 

Our team will conduct a full assessment including medical history, foot & lower limb posture, strength & motion tests, gait assessment using pressure plate system, and treatment plan discussion. Following your assessment and review of your medical history, this appoint may suitable to diagnose an treat conditions in the list above.

For this appointment it is important to have the appropriate medical history as this will allow our podiatrists to identify and treat the problem more effectively. If you have any previous GP refferal notes, scans or test results please bring these with you.

You will need the following for your appointment:

A pair of shorts. A selection of footwear, 1 to 3 pairs of shoes (footwear you wear daily/ and or your sporting footwear).

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