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Ankle Instability

June 7, 2016

Chronic ankle instability is a condition that can lead to frequent injuries. Many people who are affected by chronic ankle instability aren’t aware that this condition exists, and so are unaware that they can get help for their problem. At Anchorage Foot and Ankle Clinic, we strive to help our patients live free of pain in their feet and ankles. Educating our patients about this condition is one of the important ways that we help our patients avoid ankle pain.

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What is chronic ankle instability?

Chronic ankle instability is what happens when the side of the ankle gives way without warning during activities like walking, running and even standing still. Ankle instability can lead to sprained ankles, chronic pain and other injuries.

What causes chronic ankle instability?

Typically, ankle instability occurs when a person has sprained their ankle in the past and the injury has not healed properly. Injury to the ankle causes weakness in the joint. When a person fails to fully rehabilitate their ankle, everyday normal activities can become too taxing for the joint to properly support the body.

What can you do to prevent ankle instability?

The best way to prevent ankle instability is to fully complete all the stages of healing after a sprained ankle has occurred and to periodically perform ankle-strengthening exercises after the healing process is completed. The stages of healing for an ankle sprain are as follows:

  • Rest. Rest your ankle and avoid putting any weight on the joint. Keep it elevated to avoid swelling. Ice the ankle to reduce inflammation, and compress the ankle to keep it stiff. Your doctor will tell you how long this stage must go on.
  • Restoration of movement. Restore your ankle’s ability to move through physical therapy, sports rehabilitation, massage therapy and other forms of treatment. Your doctor will show you how to perform exercises that can be done at home as well as in the clinic. During this rehabilitative stage, your ankle may not be able to stand up to all your usual movements as you go about your daily activities. During this stage, you’ll be easing back into the process of living and moving normally.
  • Strengthen the joint. Once you’re able to walk, run and move normally, you must still perform exercises that help to strengthen the muscle and restore it to full functionality. Many patients assume when they get to this stage that they’ve completed their rehabilitation. As a result, they stop treatment. The result is chronic ankle instability.

What can you do if you have chronic ankle instability?

If you are affected by this condition, your foot ankle doctor can help you with physical therapy. During therapy sessions, you’ll learn to perform exercises that will restore strength, coordination and balance to your ankle.

With sports therapy, this the healing process can be specially tailored for athletes who need to maintain an active schedule during the rehabilitation process. For more information, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Kaufman, contact us today at 907-344-2155

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