4 Reasons for Ankle Instability
Ankle Sprain

An actual tear of the ligaments that support the ankle, giving rise to recurrent instability — and hence, more potential sprains — and pain.

Treatment

Usually managed non-surgically with RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) therapy, ankle braces, physiotherapy and anti-inflammatory medication. Those with recurrent sprains and chronic symptoms may be suitable candidates for reconstruction of the ankle ligaments. It is best to seek a professional opinion if you suffer from chronic and recurrent ankle pain and instability, instead of dismissing it as only a “minor ankle sprain.”

Osteochondral Lesion

This is a fairly common and more problematic condition that results from an ankle sprain: damage to the ankle joint surface or talus (one of the two bones comprising the ankle joint). This may give rise to chronic deep-seated pain and wearing out of the cartilage, potentially resulting in osteoarthritis of the ankle joint.

Treatment

The treatment may be surgical or nonsurgical, depending on the nature of the osteochondral lesion.

Achilles Tendinitis

The Achilles tendon is the most powerful tendon in the body. It flexes the ankle and allows a person to perform most sporting and other activities involving the lower limbs. As a result, there are many common injuries resulting from Achilles tendon problems. Achilles tendinitis is inflammation of the tendon. Rupture of the tendon is also common and can be career-ending for athletes.

Treatment

Medication, physiotherapy and, sometimes, ultrasound therapy. When it comes to a tendon rupture, the management and repair of it can be non-surgical, depending on its severity. Serious cases may require surgery. Minimally invasive repair of the tendon rupture is a recent development. The patient has to be assessed by an orthopaedic surgeon before the appropriate management can be undertaken.

Stress Fractures

These are less common ankle injuries. Symptoms are pain, swelling, bruising and problems with ankle motion. To avoid such injuries, do not overestimate your sporting prowess and keep activities within your capability. Listen to your body and stop any activity once pain develops.

Treatment

If you have a stress fracture, seek professional help from an orthopaedic specialist. If the ankle is stable and alignment is normal, surgery is not needed. Patients may need a cast or a cam walker to help relieve the pressure on the ankle while the bone heals. Anti-inflammatory medication may also be useful.

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