Tired of Chronic Ankle Sprains?
Feb 14, 2018 10:42AM ● Published by Dia
By Dr. Nathan Stickney
Spraining an ankle a common soft tissue injury can be one of the most painful injuries a person can experience. Most of the time we can just rest, ice, immobilize and elevate the ankle, and it will get better over a small period of time.
But what happens when those ligaments don’t heal properly, and the lateral ankle becomes weak? That is when you develop lateral ankle instability. This condition can cause you to chronically sprain your ankle or have chronic pain in the lateral ankle.
The lateral ankle consists of the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL), and the posterior talofibular ligament (PTFL). When these ligaments are damaged from an injury or a deformity they can cause laxity, or looseness, to the lateral ankle. This laxity can cause the ankle to feel like it is giving out, and lead to an increase in sprains. This condition makes it very hard to play sports or be pain free with increased activity. The more you use your ankle, the more the instability causes inflammation and increased stress to the area.
There are many ways to treat this lateral ankle instability including conservative and surgical options. Your physician will generally immobilize the ankle and recommend anti-inflammatory medication and icing to reduce the inflammation. If you are still having pain, physical therapy can be used to strengthen the ligaments and an ankle brace can be worn to help stabilize the ankle. If the inflammation and pain persist, then steroid injections can be utilized to reduce the inflammation. Custom orthotics can also be made to assist in stabilizing the ankle. If all this wonderful conservative treatment doesn’t relieve your pain, then surgical options are considered.
The most widely used surgical treatment option for this condition is known as the Brostrom ligament repair. The lateral ligaments are manually repaired by suture and anchors to reduce the instability. Technology has also given rise to new techniques including the internal brace, which is an augmentation to the Brostrom repair to increase the stability of the ligaments.
All in all, lateral ankle instability, whether from a trauma or a deformity, can be a debilitating condition. There are many treatment options to remedy this problem including conservative and surgical options so don’t let yourself continue to live with chronic ankle pain.
Content sponsored by
Dr. Nathan Stickney