Chronic ankle instability occurs in ten to twenty percent of people who have suffered an ankle
sprain. In addition to having suffered an ankle sprain, risk factors for developing chronic ankle
instability include reoccurring, improperly healed or inadequately rehabilitated ankle sprains. If
you suspect an ankle sprain it is important to consult your podiatrist for proper care. Appropriate
attention to the initial injury (the sprain) will reduce likelihood of a secondary injury (ankle
Symptoms of Chronic Lateral ankle instability
If you have chronic lateral ankle instability you have probably had the feeling that your ankle is
weak or failing. That is because loose ligaments reduce the ankle’s ability to support the body.
The resulting symptom is commonly characterized as a giving out of the outer ankle. The ankle
may give out with activity or on uneven surfaces. In some cases, the ankle may turn or fail even
with just standing. Other symptoms include ankle pain, tenderness and swelling.
Diagnosing Chronic Lateral ankle instability
Our Atlanta podiatrist has experience treating a variety of conditions of the foot and ankle.
During your visit we will discuss any history of injury to the ankle. We will also perform a
physical exam to identify areas of tenderness, pain, instability or swelling. We may also use
imaging to get a complete picture of the extent of the damage.
How our Atlanta podiatrist can help
If your examination reveals chronic lateral ankle instability our Atlanta podiatrist can
recommend a treatment plan based on the extent of the injury and your activity level. Good
recovery results are often achieved with non-surgical options. These include:
- Pain management – anti-inflammatory medications can reduce pain and swelling.
- Bracing – bracing holds the ankle in place and protects it from further sprains. It also
protects the ankle from turning or giving way.
- Physical therapy – this option is helpful for strengthening the joint. Exercises that work to
retrain muscles, improve balance and range of motion can effectively treat chronic lateral
ankle instability and the reduced muscle coordination it often causes.
In some cases the ligaments may be so loose that non-surgical options are unsuccessful in
achieving ankle stability. Surgery to repair or reconstruct the ligament may be indicated. Surgical
- Replacing the outer ankle ligament with a tendon from another area of the body since
tendons and ligaments are made from similar tissue.
- Shortening the ankle ligaments
Additional post-surgical treatment such as bracing and physical therapy can improve surgical
outcomes. Call today for an appointment. Our Atlanta podiatrist can evaluate and diagnose
conditions of the foot and ankle, including chronic lateral ankle instability. We will recommend
the right treatment plan for your injury. Let us help you find relief for ankle pain and get back on
your feet as soon as possible.