Chronic ankle instability is diagnosed when the outer side of your ankle continually gives way, leading to frequent missteps, strains, and sprains. With chronic instability, your ankle may give out suddenly when walking or even just standing.
Chronic instability can develop in people who’ve sprained their ankle and rushed the healing process. At Go Feet, we can help you properly heal an ankle sprain and prevent long-term dysfunction.
What causes chronic ankle instability?
Chronic instability of the ankle can develop when you don’t allow a sprain to heal properly. You put too much weight on an injured ankle too soon and test its range of motion before it’s fully rehabilitated. As a result, you may experience recurrent strains and develop instability.
Depending on the severity of your injury, a sprain overstretches or tears the ligaments in your ankle. When this connective tissue is loose, your balance is affected. Without proper healing, the ligaments become weaker and weaker.
What are the symptoms of chronic ankle instability?
With chronic instability, you may feel your ankle give way often – especially when you’re playing sports or walking and running on uneven ground. Your ankle may be regularly swollen and uncomfortable, sometimes even painful or tender to the touch. You may often find that you feel off-balance or that the joint is wobbly.
How do I heal properly?
All ankle sprains should be taken seriously. Though the injury may be common, it’s important to give yourself adequate time and care to rehabilitate. When you come to us at Go Feet with an ankle sprain, our first step will be to protect the injured ankle and reduce any swelling. Phase two of recovery involves restoring range of motion, flexibility, and strength. Our expert team provides you with therapeutic exercises to help you achieve these goals.
The last phase of rehabilitation involves a slow progression back to your normal activities. You’ll start with movements that don’t require twisting or turning of the ankle. Only later, when the doctors advise, should you add in quick turns, pivots, and other sharp changes in direction. You may need to put some activities such as basketball and tennis on hold for a while.
The doctors here at Go Feet examine your ankle for normal range of motion before recommending you return to activity. They treat any hypermobile areas and protect these ligaments, so they repair in a healthy manner that doesn’t cause weakness.
What can I do?
If you have an ankle sprain, the most important thing you can do to prevent ankle instability is to not rush the healing process. If you have a minor sprain, it may take just two weeks to recover. But more severe sprains can take 6-12 weeks to heal.
Being sidelined by a sprain can be frustrating, and it’s tempting to get moving the moment you feel better. But feeling better doesn’t necessarily mean your ligaments have fully healed. Don’t compare your healing to someone else’s either – his or her injury is completely different than yours and so is his or her physiology. Your teammate may have returned to play after just three weeks, but that doesn’t mean you should.
If you have a sprained ankle, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just heal on your own. Even if it seems minor, improper healing and a rush to recovery can lead to long-term instability. Call Go Feet, or book an appointment using this website to have your ankle evaluated and treated the right way.