What is ankle instability
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an athlete, weekend warrior, dancer or lover of high heels, you’ve more than likely experienced an ankle sprain at some point in your life. Repeated ankle sprains are very common and can often develop into long-term ankle instability. This leads to persistent discomfort, swelling, pain and an ankle feeling a little too wobbly!
Causes: Of Ankle InstabilityAnkle sprains are among the most common athletic injuries, accounting for 10-20% of injuries in most sports. They generally result from:
- A quick change in movement
- Poor footing
- Stepping on something unstable
- Poor footwear
Chronic ankle instability develops following ankle sprains that have not adequately healed. Spraining an ankle leads to trauma of the ligaments that hold bones together. When the bones aren’t held together properly, it affects strength and balance. If these ligaments are not appropriately rehabilitated, they can very easily ‘give way’ next time your foot finds itself on an uneven surface! Each repeated sprain leads to further trauma and weakening of the ligaments, worsening the stability of the ankles. It is a vicious cycle.
How can we best treat unstable ankles?Most mild sprains can be easily managed with a RICER protocol (rest, ice, compression, elevation, return to normal activities). Although, it is the repeated, severe cases that run the risk of developing into long-term ankle instability. Unfortunately, 20% of ankle sprains tend to do so! That’s a lot of shaky ankles out there.
To treat chronic ankle instability (or prevent it occuring in the first place) it’s important to get on top of it as soon as possible. Your podiatrist at The Movement Centre will incorporate the following treatment options to best help you get back on track:
- Balance training: exercises to build back stability and coordination of the ankle joint
- Strength training: Specific exercises to help increasing the resilience of the surrounding muscles and ligaments
- Footwear advice: assuring you have the best possible shoes for your feet to help keep you stable
- Taping and braces: Used when required during flare-ups to help manage pain and stability
If you’re struggling with ankle instability, make sure you get in contact with The Movement Centre podiatrists so they can tailor you a rehab plan. Don’t live with unstable ankles any longer!