Does your ankle repeatedly twist when you’re walking on uneven surfaces or playing sports? Do you have persistent pain, swelling and discomfort in your ankle? Does your ankle feel wobbly and unstable when you walk on it? You may be experiencing chronic ankle instability.
What Is Chronic Ankle Instability?
Your ankle has multiple ligaments or connective tissues. Your ligaments connect your bones together. When you sprain your ankle, your ligaments become stretched or torn. When you repeatedly sprain your ankle and don’t give it time to heal, you can develop chronic ankle instability. This condition causes the outer side of your ankle to give way when standing, walking or doing other activities. It can also affect your balance. Each additional time you sprain your ankle, it causes further weakening of your ligaments. This stretching of the ligaments can result in even more instability. You can also develop other ankle problems.
How Is Chronic Ankle Instability Diagnosed?
If you suspect you have chronic ankle instability, you should see your doctor. Your doctor will talk with you about your injury. He/she will do a physical examination of your ankle. Your doctor will also review any X-rays or other images. Then your doctor can make an accurate diagnosis. However, your doctor may refer you to an orthopedic doctor for further evaluation and treatment.
How Is Chronic Ankle Instability Treated?
Depending upon the extent of your injury and instability, your doctor may recommend nonsurgical treatments first. These treatments may include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain and inflammation.
- An ankle brace to support the ankle and keep it from turning.
- Physical therapy to strengthen your ankle and improve your balance and range of motion. Physical therapy can also retrain your muscles to perform correctly.
Recent studies have found that chronic ankle instability can cause you to use your peroneus longus and your gluteus maximus muscles differently than normal. The peroneus logus muscle is the muscle along the outside of your calf. The gluteus maximus muscle is the muscle that makes up the large portion of the side of your hip. Therefore, your doctor should evaluate your hips muscles, too, doing his/her examination. Plus, your doctor should tell your physical therapist that you need do exercises that work your entire lower leg muscle chain.
Additionally, these studies show that people with chronic ankle instability use their proximal muscles and distal muscles differently, too, in order to protect their ankle during movement. The proximal muscles are the muscles closet to the middle of your body. The distal muscles are the muscles further from the center of your body. Therefore, your rehabilitation needs to include exercises to restore proper neuromuscular control in order to prevent further injury. Furthermore, during your rehab sessions, you should perform stability exercises closer to the end of your session to work both proximal and distal muscles when you’re more fatigued.
Note: If non-surgical treatments don’t work, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair or reconstruct your damaged ligaments.
Improve Ankle Instability with ezWalker® Custom Orthotics
If you suffer from chronic ankle instability, ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics from the WalkEZStore can help:
- Improve your balance by providing your foot with the proper support it needs to help keep your body from swaying.
- Improve your range of motion while standing and walking.
- Reduce strain or pressure on the soft tissues in your ankle.
- Improve how you walk while reducing the compensating affects you place on your body when you walk due to ankle pain and instability.
- Distribute pressure normally across the plantar surface or bottom of your foot.
In addition to your rehabilitation program, ezWalker® Custom Orthotics can help you with your overall recovery with chronic ankle instability.
For more information about ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics, visit our website. Or schedule an appointment with Kathy Carandang, a certified pedorthist and owner of the WalkEZStore. She can evaluate how you are currently walking and what your muscle weaknesses and balance deficits are, in addition to casting your feet for your custom orthotics.
Don’t live with chronic ankle instability because it can lead to more serious problems down the road. Contact us today!
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Cover photo credit: 123RF – Blazej Lyjak