Foot & Ankle Surgery located in Fort Worth and Weatherford, TX

Chronic Ankle Instability: When Your Joint Gives Way

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Chronic Ankle Instability: When Your Joint Gives Way

Ankle injuries are pretty common, but when they become chronic, it can lead to constant problems with walking, running, and other basic functions on a regular basis. Read on to find out more about this condition.

Your joints are uniquely important to movement, allowing your bodies to bend, walk, stand, and turn, and ankles are a major joint in that process. Set at the base of your leg, the bones in your ankles (the lowest part of the tibia and fibula and the talus, which sits above the heel bone) along with your tendons, muscles, and ligaments are necessary to walk, stand, run, and jump. 

Ankle injuries are very common, whether you’re an athlete or just moving around the house. 2500 Americans sprain their ankles daily, and over a million go to the emergency room due to ankle injuries. These injuries can happen to anyone, but they are more common in men ages 15-24 and can affect the bone, ligament, or tendon. Ankle injuries are bad enough, but if the problem becomes chronic, it leads to instability, which makes many basic functions more difficult. Let’s explore this condition by looking at the common causes of ankle instability, why this problem becomes chronic, and how it may be treated.

If you live in the Fort Worth, Texas area, and you're dealing with the pain and stability issues of an ankle injury, Drs. Gary Driver, Glen Beede, Gregory Jaryga, and the experienced team at Trinity Foot & Ankle Specialists can help. 

Common causes of ankle instability

Whether you’re the most active person, always on the run, or you just casually move to and fro, ankle injuries are common and can come from seemingly simple actions. Tripping, falling, running, jumping, moving awkwardly on uneven terrain, or having an accident can twist, rotate, or roll your ankle. This causes stains, strains, and fractures in your ankle, and increases the chances of developing instability. 

This happens when the two major ligaments in your ankle heals, but in a lengthened position from having stretched or torn a bit with the injury. This means your ankle is prone to being unstable, or giving out when using it, and opening the door for more injuries.

Reasons it becomes chronic

This becomes a recurring problem when you deal with repeated sprains, and is often a result of the lateral (or outer) side of the ankle giving way. It essentially becomes a cycle, your ankle gets injured, you heal improperly, and this leads to another ankle injury, which causes your ligaments to stretch or tear a little more each time. 

Since you need your ankles all the time, any basic use of them can trigger the instability if they’ve been injured often enough, and can cause you to deal with repeated turning of the ankles, persistent discomfort and swelling, pain, tenderness, and constantly feeling like your ankles are unstable. This also potentially leads to additional ankle problems and further balance instability. 

Methods of treatment

An examination will determine the extent of the injury, using imaging and other tests, and treatment for this problem can be managed in both surgical and non surgical means. Nonsurgical methods include physical therapy, bracing, and medications to reduce inflammation and swelling. It is not unusual for a combination of methods to be used to manage this condition.

Surgical options are mainly considered if the extent of the damage is enough to warrant it, and involves the reconstruction of ligaments that have been damaged in multiple incidents.

We specialize in helping with instability issues in your ankles, and whether you’re dealing with mild or severe issues related to ankle injuries, we can help. Make an appointment with Drs. Driver, Beede, and Jaryga at Trinity Foot & Ankle Specialists today to get your ankles the help they need.