Chronic ankle instability is a medical condition where the outer or the lateral side of the ankle fails to keep you supported while walking, running, or doing a variety of other physical activities. It can be extremely dangerous and result in a bad ankle sprain or even a break.
Too much walking or strenuous exercise can cause this condition to develop, and repeated ankle sprains from playing a lot of sports like football or basketball can also lead to chronic ankle instability.
What Are the Symptoms of Chronic Ankle Instability?
- Your ankle turns or twists easily and repeatedly on uneven surfaces and while playing sports.
- Chronic pain, tenderness, discomfort, and swelling of the ankle.
- A wobbly or unstable feeling in the ankle.
What Causes Chronic Ankle Instability?
Chronic ankle instability usually develops after someone has suffered a bad ankle sprain or injury that has not been given adequate time to heal properly. An ankle sprain causes the connective ligaments or tissues in the ankle to stretch and tear. These damaged ligaments need time to recover to return to optimal functionality.
A person’s balancing ability is also strongly compromised. For anyone who experiences this condition, you will be advised to take time out to rest and refrain from indulging in any kind of physical activity. Failure to take these necessary steps will result in chronic ankle instability.
Treatment of Chronic Ankle Instability
Nonsurgical treatments for this condition include physical therapy, bracing, and medications. In more severe cases, where there is a significant amount of damage, you may have to undergo ankle ligament reconstruction surgery.
What Is Ankle Ligament Reconstruction Surgery?
This surgery is used to treat chronic ankle instability when the nonsurgical methods have failed to repair the ankle or help someone find relief from their symptoms. It is highly effective in treating sprained ankles and can help restore someone’s stability and balance.
The surgery can be carried out in one visit and the patient may be administered a type of anesthesia around the ankle area to keep it numb and pain-free after the surgery.
To begin, your surgeon will conduct an ankle arthroscopy to closely inspect the ankle joint before proceeding to repair the torn, stretched, and damaged ligament. He will make a small incision on the ankle to locate the scar tissue inside, near the fibula bone. He will then make stitches and repair the torn ligament near the bone.
The surgery is safe and effective and leaves very little to no room for error.
Recovery After Surgery
Once the surgery is performed:
- You will be in a plaster cast from the knee down to your foot to keep it stable and free you from pain.
- Painkillers will be prescribed and you can go home the same day preferably with a friend or relative to accompany you.
- A follow-up appointment will be given to you to check if the ankle is healing well.
- You will be asked to see a physiotherapist who will chalk out a rehabilitation program for you and help you get back on your feet slowly.
Contact Our Office
Chronic ankle instability can significantly impact every aspect of your life. Whether you play sports often or you’re simply walking to your office, it can impose limitations that are inconvenient and annoying to have to deal with on a daily basis.
Contact us if you’re experiencing similar problems. Dr. Kevin James, a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon, can analyze your ankles and help you find an effective solution.