Ankle Instability

Colorado Foot + Ankle Sports Medicine -  - Podiatrist

Kevin Blue, DPM

Podiatrist located in Parker, CO

Ankle Instability Specialist
Having your ankle give way beneath you is unpleasant, but if it happens rarely, it probably has more to do with the walking surface or your footwear than any underlying problem. But when ankle instability is persistent or chronic, it can lead to serious injury. At Colorado Foot + Ankle Sports Medicine in Parker, Colorado, Dr. Kevin Blue evaluates ankle instability in athletes and other patients to determine the specific cause of weakness and joint dysfunction. Then he recommends the most appropriate treatment to help you improve your strength, balance, and mobility and to prevent future ankle-related issues.

Ankle Instability Q & A

by Kevin Blue, DPM

What causes ankle instability?

Ankle instability is a chronic condition that causes the ankle to “give way” when walking or even when standing. It most commonly develops in people who have had a serious sprain that hasn’t healed properly or in people who have had multiple ankle sprains.

When you sprain your ankle, the ligaments that support the joint are stretched or sometimes torn. When the ligaments don’t heal properly, they can weaken over time, leading to chronic instability. Chronic ankle instability is common, especially among athletes whose ankles are subjected to considerable strain. It can also become more common with age.

What symptoms are associated with ankle instability?

Chronic ankle instability causes symptoms like:

  • Repeated twisting of the ankle joint, especially on uneven or rough surfaces, when wearing high heels, or when participating in sports
  • Chronic pain and discomfort in the ankle, sometimes accompanied by swelling
  • Feeling like the ankle is unstable, wobbly, or about to give way

How is ankle instability diagnosed?

During your evaluation, Dr. Blue will ask you about your symptoms and how they occur. Then he’ll carefully examine your ankle and your foot to look for areas of tenderness or swelling, and he may order X-rays or other imaging studies to help guide treatment. He’ll also ask about any past sprains or other ankle-related problems you may have had and the physical activities you enjoy to ensure that your treatment is tailored to your needs.

How does Dr. Blue treat ankle instability?

Treatment of ankle instability is focused on helping you regain control and strength in the joint so you can participate in all sorts of activities without fear of future injury. First, Dr. Blue will consider conservative nonsurgical treatment options, including:

  • Medications to reduce pain and swelling and support natural healing in the ankle area
  • Bracing to stabilize the joint, prevent additional sprain or injury, and help promote healing
  • Physical therapy to restore normal strength and mobility to the joint and to help you regain your balance
  • Sports therapy to help you get back to the activities you love

In some cases, Dr. Blue may recommend surgery to repair damaged ligaments and restore other tissues. Surgery typically is only considered when conservative approaches aren’t effective or when damage is so severe, conservative options aren’t feasible. The type of surgery will be based on your specific needs and your options will be discussed in detail to help you feel confident in your care every step of the way.

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