What Is Ankle Instability?
More than 20,000 people sprain their ankles per day in the United States. While most of these injuries go on to fully recover, there are some that stay persistently painful or unstable because of the severity of the injury or because of a history of multiple sprains. Those individuals will often describe their ankle as feeling too loose or unreliable, especially when walking on uneven terrain or playing sports.
While conservative treatment such as bracing or physical therapy may be used in order to give the ankle an opportunity to recover, the ankle ligaments are sometimes too loose and injured to repair on their own and are therefore unable to provide you with a reliable, stable ankle. At that point, surgical intervention may be recommended in order to prevent future sprains which can ultimately lead to ankle arthritis.
Dr. Levine is a foot and ankle orthopaedist, located in New York, that has vast experience in traumatology and reconstructive surgery. Ankle instability is a common problem that he treats frequently. The goal is always to do what is in your best interest and to restore your mobility as quickly as possible.
What to expect if you choose to undergo surgery
HSS is a hospital that performs only orthopaedic surgeries. Therefore, we have a highly specialized group of physician assistants, nurses, and anesthesiologists that assist the surgeon during your surgery as well as during the post-operative period to ensure that you receive the best care. Often times you will be able to go home the same day, but some surgeries or medical conditions may require you to stay overnight. If you live in New York or surrounding areas, contact Dr. Levine's office staff and they will help you arrange a day for surgery.
Additional Information on Ankle Instability Surgery
If you are experiencing chronic ankle instability as a result of injuries that have occurred in the past, you may have a bigger problem on your hands than you realize. For a lot of people, ankle pain is an everyday feeling, especially as they get older, and they just accept it as a part of everyday life. However, leaving an ankle too unstable might be causing more damage to an injury that can be repaired provided you go to a New York orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon, such as Dr. Levine.
Persistent ankle instability is a condition defined by a repeating pattern of the external (lateral) side of the ankle giving way. This condition is usually the result of multiple ankle sprains. Normally, the feeling of the ankle giving way occurs while walking, jogging, or other activities involving being on your feet but, however it is not limited to that, as many times an ankle could fail while the patient is merely standing still.
Individuals with persistent ankle instability frequently complain of:
- A pattern of the ankle turning unnaturally, especially on uneven ground or while participating in physical activities
- Consistent (chronic) pain and swelling of the ankle
- Discomfort or the ankle feeling tender
- The feeling of the ankle being “too loose”
Ankle instability occurs in the same way that a person would get a simple ankle sprain. The lateral ligament complex, especially the ATFL and also CFL, are at great risk for injury. Many patients go on to heal with minimal long-term risk of hurting the ankle again, however there are a good number of patients who suffer from chronic symptoms as a result over time. Instability comes into play when the ligaments are weakened, resulting in their inability to support the ankle. The patient may also discover a difference in postural and neuromuscular control. The outcome for the patient would be a tendency for reoccurring ankle sprains, discomfort during all physical and nonphysical activities, and lastly muscular weakness.
Chronic ankle instability typically happens following an ankle sprain that has not appropriately healed or was not rehabilitated entirely. When you sprain your ankle, the connective cells (ligaments) are extended or torn, greatly affecting your balance. Proper rehabilitation must occur so the patient can reinforce the muscles around the ankle, and re-train the tissues within the ankle that influence balance. Failure to do so could cause repeated ankle strains.
Repeated ankle sprains will generally result in the patient suffering from chronic ankle instability. Each time the patient sprains their ankle moving forward without proper care, they are putting themselves at greater risk for damaging the tendons as well. This could also lead to other problems in the ankle besides the chronic ankle instability.
Chronic instability can be a very debilitating problem, which leads to difficulty in all physical activities, including sports, for all age levels. While there are some steps that you can take to help, surgical restoration through an ankle ligament reconstruction, from Dr. Levine, a New York foot and ankle surgeon, is a very effective approach of taking care of this problem.
Following the surgery, the patient must go to, and stick with, physical rehabilitation in order for the ankle to heal properly. If the patient skips this step, or does not take it seriously, they could find themselves in the same situation as they started with. Typically, the patient will be asked to wear a boot following surgery. An ankle brace is then recommended during the next phase of your rehabilitation by the New York foot & ankle surgeon. This allows the ligaments to stay supported.
Contact a professional today if you are experiencing an ankle instability injury in New York. There is no reason that you should have to live with the everyday pain of being on your feet if there are treatment options available. Once the surgery has taken place, and all of the physical therapy has been completed, you will feel like a whole new person again, ready to resume all of the physical activities that you loved prior to injuring your ankle.