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Chronic Ankle Instability

Ever used the phrase “my ankle is giving away” – this statement characterizes the condition known as chronic ankle instability. It usually occurs after repeated ankle sprains and more commonly affects the outer aspect of the ankle. In some cases the ‘giving away’ is felt when performing daily activities such as running or walking; however in some cases it may occur when standing.

This instability may occur due to the weakness in the surrounding ligaments and muscles in the area post injury. A reduction in proprioception or poor balance may also be another factor to consider with regards to reoccurring ankle sprains.

The image below gives a detail explanation of factors that can cause repeated ankle sprains.

Chronic Ankle Instability

It can be seen that the causative factors are divided into two groups:

  • Mechanical Insufficiencies
    • Related to biomechanical factors such as:
      • Changes at the joint capsule, cartilage
      • Alterations of the strength of the ligaments
    • Functional Insufficiencies
      • Related to neurological factors such as:
        • Balance
        • Proprioception
        • Motor nerve control

Treatment options would depend on the severity of the condition. Non-surgical as well as surgical options are available.

Non-surgical options may generally include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Bracing
  • Use of medications
  • Neuromuscular training

The surgical options are considered if no success is noticed with conservative treatment. It may include shortening ligaments and tendons.

For further discussion on the management or treatment options please do book in with your friendly podiatrists.


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