person wearing sneakers rests their feet on blue wallEvery year, millions of people roll, twist, or turn their ankle, resulting in a sprain. In many cases, the injury is temporary, and these isolated ankle sprains may be treated at home. But sometimes this line of care just isn’t enough to support a proper recovery. Repeated ankle injuries in particular can lead to long-term problems, including chronic ankle pain, arthritis, and ankle instability - a complication that develops as a result of torn ankle ligaments or a dislocated ankle joint. 

In these more serious cases, medical intervention and rehabilitation from an orthopaedic doctor is needed to strengthen the muscles around the ankle, as well as encourage the healing of any tears contributing to this injury. To determine if this line of care is necessary for you, please continue reading:

From A Sprained Ankle To An Unstable Ankle

“Chronic ankle instability” refers to a health issue where the outer side of the ankle repeatedly gives way. Many cases of ankle instability are the result of repeated and/or serious ankle sprains. In these cases, the sprained ankle did not properly heal, often because of the cumulative damage caused by repeated stretching of the ankle’s connective tissues.

As a result, the ankle’s connective tissues remain stretched or torn, negatively impacting a patient’s balance. This, in turn, leads to the ankle “giving way” during normal activities - sometimes even when a person is simply standing.

Patients with this condition often report the following:

  • Repeatedly “turning” their ankle, particularly on uneven surfaces or when participating in sports
  • Feeling wobbly or unstable when using the ankle
  • Chronic discomfort and/or swelling of the ankle
  • Pain or tenderness

Treatment For Ankle Instability

If medical intervention is needed, you and your doctor will next discuss your specific treatment options to determine the appropriate next steps in your care. Treatment for chronic ankle instability may include any of the following:

  • Physical therapy. Physical therapy exercises may be recommended to strengthen a weakened ankle, as well as improve balance and range of motion.
  • Bracing. Support in the form of an ankle brace may be prescribed to keep an ankle from turning again, at least until after other rehabilitation efforts are complete. 
  • Medications. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) - such as ibuprofen - may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Surgery. In severe cases of instability, or when the injury fails to respond to nonsurgical approaches, surgery will be recommended to repair or reconstruct the ankle’s damaged ligament(s).

About Treatment At Prisk Orthopaedics and Wellness

Should any care be required to help you regain the full function of a sprained, twisted, and/or rolled ankle, we encourage you to contact us for assistance. Prisk Orthopaedics and Wellness specializes in the range of issues that may affect the foot and ankle. We always offer up-to-date care options when treating these health issues.

After you contact us, you can expect to meet directly with our Medical Director, Dr. Prisk. He is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon with sub-specialty fellowship training and over 10 years of experience in treating complex conditions of the foot and ankle, both surgically and non-surgically. Following an exam, he can make recommendations for conservative or operative treatments that will help you get back on your feet.

To receive your evaluation and begin discussing your care needs, please contact Dr. Prisk at (412) 525-7692 or submit an online appointment request form.

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