3131 Nassau St, Suite 101
Everett, WA 98201
Fax (425) 258-6933
515 Minor Ave Suite 240
Seattle WA 98104
Our Seattle Office is for Consultation Only
What Is Ankle Instability?
Ankle instability is a “giving way” feeling that one feels on the outside of the ankle. This feeling will often force the patient to constantly guard the ankle with muscle splinting to avoid spraining the ankle.
This condition generally develops after repeated ankle sprains. Usually the “giving way” occurs while walking or doing other activities, but is usually aggravated with walking on uneven ground.
Ankle instability usually develops following an ankle sprain that has not adequately healed or was not rehabilitated completely. When an ankle is sprained, the ankle ligaments are torn or stretched. The result is a progressive loss of balance. In mild cases, proper rehabilitation is needed to strengthen the muscles around the ankle and “retrain” the tissues within the ankle that affect balance. Otherwise further ankle sprains will persist.
As ligament function is compromised, the ankle joint can start to degenerate. This at first may result in ankle spur formation of minor cartilage injury that is localized. If the ankle instability lasts for years to decades end stage arthritis can develop.
The condition is fairly early to evaluate and confirm the diagnosis. Clinical examination combined with x-rays will usually allow the condition severity to be determined. If conservative treatments are not successful in controlling the instability, then surgical intervention can be performed to repair or reconstruct the ligaments. In cases of instability with end stage arthritis, then ankle fusion or ankle replacement is a consideration.