Do you experience ankle sprains frequently? Ankle sprains are the common injury for athletes, accounting for 40% of injuries. However, if it occurs too often, chances are that you might have chronic lateral ankle instability. Chronic lateral ankle instability occurs when the ankle joint is more prone to becoming injured from sprains and strains. Not only that, if left untreated, it may lead to chronic pains, muscle weakness, and degenerative arthritis.
There are multiple factors that can play into chronic ankle instability, and the combination of factors differs from person to person. This includes but is not limited to: age, gender, height, weight, obesity, past injuries, proprioception, balance, foot alignment and flexibility. One big factor to consider are the activities that you may put your feet to use in such as frequent running or jumping, and also the environment that they are done in such as smooth, slanted, or uneven surfaces.
So, how do we treat chronic lateral ankle instability? By visiting a physiotherapist, they can figure out some of the causes of the instability through specific tests and create and individualized plans to treat your instability. Some of the treatment options that they might use are kinesiology taping which acts as a support for your ankle muscles during movement, gait training where they teach how to properly step and run, or improve the connection between muscles and nerves so that you have better control of where you are stepping to avoid injuries. Other treatments include strengthening the muscles of the ankle, proprioception and flexibility exercises, and recommending appropriate footwear. Surgeries may be recommended for those whose instability are more severe, or for those who fail to improve even with other treatments.