Ankle Instability

Man helping a woman wrap her sprained ankle

What is ankle instability?

Ankle instability is common in individuals who have had frequent ankle sprains. The ankle is composed of strong ligaments on the outside and inside of the ankle joint. Frequent sprains can result in tears and loosening of these ligaments. Many individuals respond to conservative treatment such as supportive braces and physical therapy. However, those with a history of repeated sprains may need more aggressive surgical treatment. Recurring sprains can create ankle bone and cartilage injuries that are quite painful. Additionally, an unstable ankle can lead to progressive ankle arthritis and make walking difficult.

What are the symptoms of ankle instability?

Individuals with ankle instability will complain of “loose” ankles and frequent sprains. Walking on even surfaces such as grass and gravel, and particularly on uneven terrain may result in a fall after losing balance. Some athletes may note frequent sprains during sports and may not be able to compete or return to sporting activity due to continued discomfort or instability.

How is ankle instability treated?

The treatment for a new sprain is to Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate (RICE) the ankle. However, chronic ankle sprains and recurrent instability does not always respond to this method. Physical therapy and special bracing may alleviate the symptoms. Surgery is reserved for those that have not responded to conservative care. This usually involves reconstruction to tighten the lateral ankle ligaments. Though some stiffness can result from surgery, many are able to return to full activity without any long-term limitations.

Why choose the International Center for Limb Lengthening for treatment of ankle instability?

The International Center for Limb Lengthening’s foot and ankle surgeons offer our patients the most comprehensive treatment possible, because they approach these problems from both a podiatric and orthopedic perspective. With a collective experience of over thirty years of helping patients with lower leg, foot and ankle problems, the Foot and Ankle Service of the Rubin Institute is one of the leading treatment centers for foot and ankle conditions in the United States. Your doctor will take the time to make sure you understand all your options and then will customize your treatment to meet your specific needs. Our patients benefit from our team-centered approach with world-renowned surgeons and specialized physician assistants, nurses and physical therapists. We help patients with ankle instability achieve their best possible result.

Doctors who treat ankle instability