Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists
Foot and Ankle Surgery & Podiatric Medicine located in State College, PA
Ankle Instability Q & A
What is ankle instability?
Ankle instability occurs after an injury to the outside ligaments in the ankle. These injuries might include a sprain or tear in the ligament.
Though most ankle sprains heal with proper rest and care, the outer ligament may sometimes heal in a more lengthened position. The change in the length of this ligament affects the stability of the ankle joint, causing the ankle to give out unexpectedly.
Ankle instability can occur after a single injury, but it’s more common in people with repeated ankle sprains.
What are the symptoms of ankle instability?
The ankle giving way when walking or standing is the most common symptom of ankle instability. If you have an unstable ankle, you may also experience:
Turning of the ankle when walking on uneven surfaces
- Persistent ankle pain
- Ankle swelling
- Ankle feels wobbly
True ankle instability causes the ankle to feel loose or floppy. An unstable ankle that causes severe pain when the foot is in certain positions is functional ankle instability.
Functional ankle instability means something is wrong with the ankle joint, while true ankle instability means something is wrong with the supporting ligaments.
What happens during an ankle instability evaluation?
When you visit Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists for an ankle instability evaluation, you can expect a thorough exam. The doctors are podiatrists, which are physicians trained specifically in diagnosis and treatment of the lower extremity.
These foot and ankle surgeons aim to find the root cause of your symptoms so they can design the most effective treatment plan. Your podiatrist reviews your symptoms and when they occur.
They also ask about previous injuries and examine your feet and ankles, looking for signs of instability and swelling. Your provider may also request X-rays to confirm or rule out other causes that might explain your symptoms.
How is ankle instability treated?
Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists customizes treatment for ankle instability based on the severity of your symptoms. Initially, the foot and ankle surgeons take a nonsurgical approach, which may include:
- Physical therapy to strengthen the supporting muscles
- An ankle brace to prevent the ankle from turning
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain and swelling
If nonsurgical interventions fail to improve your unstable ankle, the experts at Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists may recommend surgery. Your podiatrist repairs or reconstructs the damaged ligament during surgery.
When left untreated, ankle instability may lead to chronic ankle problems. Call Tussey Mountain Foot & Ankle Specialists or schedule an appointment online today to discuss treatment options.
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