Ankle instability is a condition characterized by a recurring giving way of the outer (lateral) side of the ankle. This condition often develops after repeated ankle sprains. Usually, the giving way occurs while walking or doing other activities, but it can also happen when you’re just standing.
Chronic ankle instability is usually caused by an ankle sprain that has not healed properly. During a sprain, the ligaments in your ankle may have been stretched or torn, and when they healed it resulted in weaker and “stretched out” ligaments. Individuals who participate in activities that involve the ankle, such as ballet and gymnastics or high-intensity sports like basketball or football, are at higher risk for chronic ankle instability. Those who suffer from repeated ankle sprains are also at risk for ankle instability.
A common symptom of ankle instability is the feeling of the ankle ready to give way. This may be heightened when walking on uneven ground or when wearing high heels. The instability may also be accompanied by pain on the outside of the ankle. Sometimes this pain is intense, and other times it may be a dull ache. Some patients also experience tenderness to the touch, stiffness, and swelling. You may occasionally “tweak” your ankle from mild activities like walking. By taking a close look at how you are walking and taking your steps, you may also notice that your ankle tends to roll or lean towards one side. Though this may be due to under or over-pronation, it can also be due to the weak ligaments surrounding your ankle. People with chronically unstable ankles will often complain of sore ankles after working out.
When you have a lot of pain.
When the pain decreases:
As you get stronger, you can ease back into your normal activities. If you are still having problems with instability, come in for an evaluation. At Pittman Physical Therapy in Collierville, TN we have laser therapy that can help with a speedy recovery!
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