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TEXT: (908) 224-4639
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Ankle Instability

Ankle Instability is characterized by a recurrent sense of frailty and/or weakness in the ankle joint, often following a previous ankle injury or a sprain. Individuals frequently experience episodes of the ankle “giving way”.  This instability/weakness can result from either a stretched or damaged ligaments and even weakened muscles around the ankle.

Some of the common symptoms of ankle instability include the following:

  • Recurrent Sprains: Individuals with ankle instability often experience frequent episodes of ankle sprains.
  • Feeling of Giving Way: The affected ankle may feel as if their ankle is giving way or buckling, leading to a lack of stability while walking, running, or standing.
  • Chronic Swelling: The ankle may be more prone to swelling, especially after activities or prolonged periods of standing.
  • Pain or Discomfort: Persistent pain, discomfort, and/or an aching sensation around the ankle joint.
  • Weakness & Fatigue: The muscles around the ankle may tire more quickly due to the extra support needed to compensate for the lack of stability.
  • Range of Motion: Instability in the ankle can lead to a decreased or a limited range of motion, making it harder to comfortably move the ankle.
  • Popping Sensation: Some individuals might experience a popping or snapping sensation within the ankle joint during movement.

The treatment options for ankle instability always depend on the severity of the condition as well as the individual, but here are some common treatment approaches to ankle instability:

  • Physical Therapy: A structured rehabilitation program can strengthen the muscles around the ankle, improve balance, and enhance the overall stability of the joint.
  • Bracing: Wearing supportive braces or using taping techniques can provide external stability to the ankle,
    reducing the possibility of further injuries, and might even alleviate minor aches/pains.
  • Functional Rehabilitation: Using specific exercises that mimic the activities that are causing instability, helping to regain control during movements.
  • Proprioception Training: Exercises that challenge balance and proprioception (awareness of the body’s position in space) can improve joint stability.
  • Ankle Strengthening Exercises: Targeted exercises to strengthen the muscles and ligaments can improve overall joint stability.
  • Orthotics: Custom-made shoe inserts can provide additional support, stability, and reduce the risk of instability.
  • Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs may help manage discomfort, swelling and pain.
  • Surgical Intervention: In some cases of severe instability, surgical options like ligament repair or reconstruction may be needed.
  • Activity Modification: Adjusting daily activities that trigger ankle instability, especially high-impact sports, can prevent further stress on the ankle.
  • Rest & Ice: Resting the ankle and using ice can help reduce the swelling and manage the pain.
  • Elevation: Elevating and rest can aid in reducing the overall swelling.