Ankle Instability

What is ankle instability?

Ankle instability is the tendency for the ankle to give way or give out.

Why does it occur?

Ankle instability may occur because the ligaments on either side of the ankle have been injured, although not all ankle ligament injuries lead to ongoing instability. The sensation of instability may also occur if there is a problem within the ankle leading to pain and is often not related to laxity of the ligaments.

What symptoms does it involve?

As it suggests it involves the ankle giving way.

What options are there for treatment?

1 – Physiotherapy
Exercises to strengthen the muscles around the ankle and improve the proprioception- feedback from receptors in the ankle to ensure that the muscles work at the right time to prevent the giving way.

2 – Braces +/- Orthotics
These may help in the short term and may be required long term if you wish to avoid surgery. There are a large number of braces commercially available; these might need to be supplemented by orthotics (insoles) if there is a problem with your foot alignment.

3 – Surgery
If the instability is due to laxity of the ligaments then a lateral ligament reconstruction can be performed (See: Lateral Ligament Reconstruction).

As suggested above there are other pathologies that can lead to the sensation of instability, which might be amenable to other operations/ treatments.

Your specialist will be able to advise you which treatment would be the most appropriate for you.