Chronic Ankle Instability

young woman in the street feeling pain in her ankleSprained your ankle? We can help.

Ankle sprains can affect anyone at any age. When you sprain your ankle, you injure the ligaments that connect the bones at the ankle joint. These ligaments are responsible for helping stabilise and support the ankle.

Inversion sprains, where the foot is twisted inwards and you roll outwards onto your ankle, account for approximately 85% of ankle sprains. Inversion injuries usually only affect the ligaments on the outside of the ankle, which are the:

  • Calcaneofibular ligament
  • Anterior talofibular ligament
  • Posterior talofibular ligament

Any activity that causes the ankle to roll forcefully can cause a sprain. These activities can range from simply losing your balance or walking on uneven ground to landing incorrectly during sports or rapidly changing direction from side-to-side.


What are the symptoms?

Symptoms are felt almost immediately after the sprain and include pain at the ankle, difficulty walking on the ankle due to pain, swelling at the ankle joint, and stiffness. Any activity that twists the foot inwards will exacerbate the pain. 


How should ankle sprains be treated?

Despite most people shrugging off ankle sprains without properly caring for them, ankle sprains not effectively managed may lead to long-standing ankle instability

The first step to managing an ankle sprain is to use RICE (rest, ice, compression and elevation) to help reduce the painful symptoms. Swelling can contribute significantly to pain, so reducing your swelling should help reduce your pain too. 

Your podiatrist can help you support and stabilise your ankle while relieving tension away from the injured ligaments. Treatment may involve strapping the ankle, using an ankle brace, orthotics, and ensuring you’re wearing the right footwear that won’t increase your risk of sustaining another sprain. Ultimately, the goal is to both allow the ligaments to heal so you can get back to normal movement, as well as reducing the likelihood of another ankle sprain in the future by addressing the cause of your current sprain.