Chronic Ankle Instability


Ligaments have Mechanoreceptors built into them (Little sensors that tell our body how stretched a ligament is). These receptors are responsible for helping our brain tell the position of our foot in space. Think of when you think there is an extra step on the stairs, your brain has positioned your foot ready to land and take the step without you thinking about it; this is the work of your Mechanoreceptors working together with your brain.

When you roll your ankle these little delicate receptors are damaged, reducing their ability to accurately detail your foots position. This leads to an increased incidence of repeated Ankle Sprains. Each subsequent sprain results in more frequent sprains (Stretching and weakening of the ligaments) with an increased risk of greater damage including fractures and dislocations.

Chronic Ankle Instability usually develops following an ankle sprain that has not properly healed or was not fully rehabilitated. Proper rehabilitation is needed to strengthen the muscles around the ankle and retrain the tissues within the ankle that affect balance. Failure to do so may result in repeated ankle sprains.

Treatment for chronic ankle instability is based on the results of the examination and tests, as well as on the patient’s level of activity.

  • Rehabilitaion. Involves various treatments and exercises to strengthen the ankle, improve balance and range of motion and retrain your muscles. As you progress through rehabilitation, you may also receive training that relates specifically to your activities or sport.
  • Bracing. Some patients wear an ankle brace to gain support for the ankle and keep the ankle from turning. Bracing also helps prevent additional ankle sprains.
  • Medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • RICER. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Referral (To see Podiatrist)

In some cases chronic ankle instability can lead to the need for more invasive treatments. Come in for a thorough biomechanical assessment with one of our friendly Podiatrists.

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