Chronic Ankle Instability
What is chronic ankle instability?
Weak and unstable ankles are subject to suddenly rolling, causing the band of lateral ligaments that stabilizes the outside of your ankle to stretch or even tear. Incomplete healing after an ankle injury may result in continued deterioration of the ligaments and a cycle of chronic instability and recurring ankle sprains.
Find a Doctor Near You
The Cycle of Chronic Ankle Instability
Over time, and without treatment, repeated injury to the ankle ligaments can lead to degenerative changes and possibly osteoarthritis9,10
Progression of Instability, Pain, and Arthritis
Preinjured, healthy ligament
Ankle roll stretches and tears ligament.
Ligament may heal in a weakened, stretched state that is prone to more sprains.
Ankle becomes increasingly unstable over time, leading to joint pain and possible arthritis.
How is chronic ankle instability diagnosed?
If you suspect you may have chronic ankle instability, schedule an appointment with a foot and ankle specialist for further evaluation. A standard exam consists of:
Your doctor will ask questions to determine whether you have the common signs and symptoms of chronic ankle instability, including repeated ankle sprains, pain, and fear of your ankle “giving way.”
A detailed physical exam and series of tests will be performed to check for ligamentous laxity or “overstretching” of your ankle ligaments, as well as muscle strength and ankle motion.
You may be asked to stand on one foot with open eyes and then again with closed eyes to determine whether your ankle instability affects your proprioception or “sense of balance.”
Finally, imaging studies like x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) will be conducted to confirm the diagnosis.
So, you’ve been diagnosed with chronic ankle instability... Now what?
Know that chronic ankle instability is a long-term condition that may not heal on its own. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation may provide temporary relief of the pain from an ankle sprain, but they will not repair damaged ligaments. Surgical repair may be necessary. Ask your doctor if InternalBrace ligament augmentation procedure may be right for you.