Chronic ankle instability might happen when a person has experienced a severe ankle sprain or had multiple sprains to the same ankle. The ankle muscles and ligaments weaken and the resulting impaired neuromuscular control makes the ankle unstable.
People with chronic ankle instability commonly experience pain at the ankle with increased activity and a tendency for the ankle to sprain on uneven surfaces or with sudden side-way motions.
You can protect the ankle with an ankle support or taping, especially during sports. These measures give proprioceptive feedback to the ankle to decrease recurrent sprains.
You may also need to rest from the activity which causes the recurrent ankle sprain after each repeated sprain.
A sports medicine physician can assess the ankle to establish an accurate diagnosis. Pain medications can be prescribed to help with pain and swelling. Physiotherapists can prescribe a full ankle training programme to strengthen the joint as well as neuromuscular re-education to reduce recurrent ankle sprains by improving proprioception.
A podiatrist may prescribe or recommend foot orthotics to increase foot stability and with difficult cases, surgery may also be considered.
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