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Ankle Instability: When You Didn’t Heal Well the First Time

You’ve probably felt it before: you push off the ground to sprint toward the finish line, or dribble the soccer ball, or catch the Frisbee thrown at the park, when you feel the twinge in your ankle. Sometimes it’s just a slight pain and you push on, hardly noticing. Other times it forces you to stop what you are doing altogether. Your whole joint feels wobbly, loose, and uncomfortable. Ankle instability can get in the way of your activities. The pain cuts in and reminds you that all is not well. Chronic joint weakness is more than just an inconvenience, too. It can cause additional injuries that lead to more pain later.

Regular Injury Means Regular Pain

Ankle instability is a common problem that results from past injuries, including fractures, inflammation, nerve problems, and sprains—especially if they were not treated or happened multiple times. Sprains are the most frequent source of the problem. In this condition, the ligaments supporting and stabilizing your ankle bones are stretched beyond what they can handle, straining or even tearing them. If they aren’t allowed time to heal properly, they aren’t able to tighten back to their original stabilizing position. They remain loose and inefficient. This opens the ankle to additional sprains, worsening the condition. Eventually the repeated injury can lead to bruising in the cartilage in the ankle, bone spurs, and arthritis.

When your ankle is unstable, you generally feel the outside is weak and “gives out.” The connecting tissues aren’t holding your ankle tightly enough, so you end up supporting more weight on the outside edge of your foot when you walk or run.  Often your ankle will feel sore and swell somewhat. It may be tender to the touch. The joint may also feel weak or wobbly to use.

Treating the Source

At Dallas Podiatry Works, Dr. Joel W. Brook, Dr. David R. Northcutt, Dr. Irene Arroyo and Dr. John Baca examine your unstable ankle to determine the exact cause of the weakness. They review your medical history, including how long the ankle has been painful and if you injured it previously, as well as obtain diagnostic images, like x-rays or MRIs, to get a clearer picture of the joint. Once the exact cause has been determined, the physicians work with you to decide on the best course of treatment for your pain and instability.

Fortunately, many conservative and noninvasive remedies are available. Anti-inflammatory painkillers may be prescribed to help reduce the swelling and limit your discomfort. The joint will need to be immobilized in a brace or boot to allow the weakened tissues time to heal. You will also need to strengthen the muscles and connecting tissues that hold the ankle bones in place, or they still will have trouble supporting you. Physical therapy exercises directed at restoring range of motion and muscle strength can help with this. If the pain is still serious and not responding to other treatment, you may need medication injected directly into the joint.

Sometimes, however, the instability has damaged the joint enough that surgery is the best option for restoring ankle efficiency. If the experts at Dallas Podiatry Works have worked with you using conservative treatments and you continue to struggle with pain, you may need surgery. During the procedure the physicians can repair the damaged tissues and give you a new chance to heal.

If your ankle feels wobbly and insecure, don’t wait until you’ve sprained it again to seek help. Every injury to your ankle tissues compounds the problem. Besides being painful now, chronic instability can lead to arthritis and severe joint pain later in life. Early treatment gives a much better chance for the injury to heal well. So if you or someone you care about struggles with ankle instability, contact Dallas Podiatry Works for an appointment or more information and get started on restoring your joint. You can reach one of our two convenient Texas locations by visiting the online contact page, or by calling the Dallas office at (972) 566-7474 and the Plano location at (972) 943-3323.

Your Top-Rated Podiatrist in Dallas & Beyond

The doctor has great “bedside manners” when talking to patients. Great staff and comfortable atmosphere.

Derrick W.

The staff at Dallas Podiatry Works could not have been more courteous, helpful, and professional in doing their job. They made me feel comfortable when I was there, which is certainly appreciated. They answered all the questions that I had and just made each visit the most pleasurable that it could be. I would highly recommend them to anyone needing this type of foot care.

Joseph B.

I would highly recommend Dr. Brook to anyone with foot problems–especially problems that stump other podiatrists. He really is very caring and very knowledgeable.

Jeannette H.

Dr. Joel Brook and the staff were nice and helpful. Though I was a new patient, I got right in as soon as they were open in my preferred location. They diagnosed the problem and provided medicines along with a perfect gel bandage so I could keep exercising while my toes healed. My toes already hurt less and look a little better each day. If I have future issues, I will be a repeat customer. Here’s hoping I don’t, but at least I know my feet are in good hands.

Meryl E.

I visited this office for an ingrown toe nail a few years ago. After seeing another doctor, who made it worse, he referred me to Dallas Podiatry Works. The doctor there was able to fix my problem. I’m not great with reviews, all I can tell you is that this doctor and staff will have you up and running or doing whatever it is you do in no time. You will be in great hands. You’d be a fool not to use this doctor. Now its time to visit him again for the other toe.

Google User

Been having bad ankle pains for 6 months was referred here and it was a great visit ladies in the front desk medical assistants and the Doctor were all very friendly and make you feel very comfortable.

Elizabeth G.

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