An Overview on Ankle Instability
Chronic ankle instability is a common condition marked by recurrent ankle sprain and lateral ankle pain. This condition often goes undiagnosed and occurs due to laxity of the previously injured lateral ankle ligaments. Many patients affected by this are prone to rolling their ankles when walking or running on uneven ground or during sports. Dr. Jervis Yau, orthopedic ankle specialist serving the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California communities, specializes in non-surgical and surgical treatment for ankle instability.
The majority of lateral ankle ligament injuries can and will heal if given proper time and protection. However, some cases may not heal or heal in a stretched position that leads to persistent laxity of the ankle joint.
Ankle Instability Symptoms
Ankle instability is characterized by lateral ankle pain associated with repeated ankle sprains, especially on uneven ground and during sports. Other symptoms include swelling, weakness and generalized ankle dysfunction.
Ankle Instability Diagnosis
Dr. Yau will confirm the diagnosis thorough medical review and physical examination. During the examination, he will assess the joint for tender areas, swelling and level of instability. Dr. Yau will also correlate his clinical findings with x-rays and MRI to assess the severity of injury.
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Ankle Instability Treatment
Treatment for recurrent ankle instability depends on severity, age and physical activity level.
Conservative treatment modalities help aid the ligament with healing. These include bracing or taping, rest, ice, compression, elevation and physical therapy. Physical therapy will involve a number of exercises designed to improve balance, strength, mobility and function of the ankle.
Ankle arthroscopy is aimed at restoring the anatomic restraint of the lateral ankle ligaments and is often the best treatment option for chronic ankle instability. Dr. Yau will perform a repair or reconstruction of the ligament, as well as other soft tissue and bone procedures, if necessary. The modified Brostrom surgical technique is effective at restoring ankle ligament stability and returning patients to pain free activities of daily living and sports.
For more information on chronic sprained ankle injuries, or for additional resources on ankle instability, please contact the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Santa Maria and Ventura, California orthopedic office of Dr. Jervis Yau – ankle specialist.