If you are cautious when you walk, often looking at your feet, and fearful of stepping off of curbs because of frequent ankle sprains, you may have a curable condition. Ankle instability is a known problem in some people and a podiatrist can tell if you have it and how severe the damage is. Once repaired, you'll be able to walk confidently and join in on sports and outdoor activities that you stayed away from.
How Ankle Instability Happens
Your ankle consists of ligaments which connect bone to bone, and tendons which attach muscles to bones. The size and flexibility of these structures are what
For example, you step off of a curb and twist your ankle inward. This puts stress on the tendons on the outside of your ankle and the ligaments inside of the joint. If not treated, when these tissues heal, they may be stretched out compared to their normal state. This reduces the support in the ankle and makes it easier to sprain. Your ankle may suddenly turn inward while walking or running. You may have the feeling that your ankle is going to give way, even while you're just standing. This give-way sensation is typical in people who have ankle instability.
You Become Cautious Not to Re-Injure Your Ankle
Once the ankle has been damaged in this way, you may find yourself being more cautious when you move such as:
- You watch your feet when walking
- You walk around uneven surfaces
- You feel like you must hold onto something when you walk
- You avoid activities such as sports, hiking, and jogging
Treatment of Ankle Instability
Your podiatrist can evaluate the extent of the ankle instability and offer different treatment options. Some will temporarily treat the symptoms while others can give you permanent relief.
- Physical therapy - This is used to condition the muscles, tendons, and ligaments to work together to support your ankle better.
- Ankle wraps and braces - These provide varying levels of support to your ankle, making it feel more secure and less likely to give way.
- Ligament repair - This surgical procedure removes the scar tissue produced by previous injuries and shortens the ligaments. This permanently gives your ankle more support.
- Joint replacement - An artificial ankle joint can replace your damaged joint and return stability. It is composed of interlocking metal and plastic parts that move together like a normal ankle.
Stop being afraid every time you put your foot down by getting an evaluation for ankle instability. You'll walk confidently again and be free to participate in those activities that you've avoided.Share