Medical City Dallas

Baylor, Scott & White Plano


Causes and Treatments for Chronic Ankle Instability

by Dr. David R. Northcutt
Dr. David Northcutt is a podiatrist and foot and ankle surgeon at Dallas Podiatry Works in TX.

“Hi, my name is Dr. David Northcutt, and I’m one of the podiatrists here at Dallas Podiatry Works. Today I’m going to talk a little bit about chronic ankle instability.

Chronic ankle instability is a condition where it feels like your ankle is giving way or giving out. This can occur while walking or sometimes even just while standing. It is usually exacerbated by walking on uneven surfaces.

Symptoms usually include pain, and often swelling to the outside portion of your ankle. This is caused by either one or repeated ankle sprains that did not heal correctly. The ligaments on the outside become stretched and loose, and this can affect your balance.

Sometimes rehabilitation is needed to strengthen the muscles that support the ankle. Chronic ankle instability can lead to worsening instability, if you continue to sprain the ankle. It also leads to arthritis and tendon problems, which all can affect your activity level. A physical exam, as well as x-rays and MRI, or even a CT scan may be needed to properly diagnose and treat your condition.

Treatment of chronic ankle instability sometimes includes physical therapy, which sometimes needs to happen for several weeks to help strengthen and retrain the muscles that support your ankle joint. Other helpful methods include ankle bracing and anti-inflammatory medications.

Occasionally, surgery is recommended if pain continues despite non-surgical methods. Surgery includes reconstruction of the damaged ligaments; sometimes surgery on the bones may be needed as well.

If you have any questions or have pain on the outside portion of your ankle, please give us a call here at Dallas Podiatry Works. We’d be honored to have you as one of our patients.”

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