Chronic ankle instability develops usually after a severe ankle sprain or multiple sprains to the same ankle. In such cases the ankle muscles and ligaments weaken along with poor neuromuscular control(balance). It manifests as pain with increased activity or the feeling of instability especially on uneven surfaces or side way motions. Sometimes it may manifest as recurrent swelling of the ankle joint especially in case of an osteo-chondral (cartilage) injury.
An orthopedic assessment is warranted in such cases to establish an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor may prescribe an x-ray and sometimes an MRI if requires. An ankle training program to strengthen the the muscles and the joint with balance training provides good clinical outcomes.
Sometimes surgery may be required to reconstruct the ATF ligament or treat a cartilage injury. Arthroscopic surgery has limited role in treatment of chronic ankle sprain or instability.
Ankle strengthening exercises mainly includes the Invertors, Evertors, Planter and dorsi flexors of the foot. The ankle is spanned with muscle tendons and joint capsule in addition to the ligament complexes on both the sides.
It is essential in cases of chronic (>6 weeks) ankle instability that the patient does exercises for a prolonged period. Balancing/Proprioceptive exercises form the second phase of rehabilitation after adequate strength is achieved. Chronic instability may also lead to arthritic changes at a young age. It is thus imperative to take these injuries seriously and taking essential precautions after the injury.
Here are a few exercises which are recommended once the patients become pain free and can start rehabilitation. Please consult our orthopedic for more information !
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