If you're afraid to walk on uneven surfaces or play sports because your ankle sprains easily, the problem may have a physical origin that can be corrected. Some people brush off frequent ankle injuries to their clumsiness when the real problem is an unstable ankle. Without help, you'll always be fearful of your ankle giving out underneath you. Here is what you need to know about ankle instability and what help you can receive for it.
Diagnosing Ankle Instability
A podiatrist will take X-rays to look at the health of the bones in your ankles. A degenerative bone disease, such as osteoporosis, can wear away the surfaces of your ankle joint, causing it to be unstable. The doctor will measure the range of motion in your ankle joint to determine if you have stretched tendons or ligaments that are not supporting your ankle. These tissues normally limit how far your ankle can move, but when stretched, they let the ankle move too far and you'll feel like your ankle is giving away underneath you.
Causes of Ankle Instability
There are a number of reasons why your ankle is no longer supporting you properly:
Once your podiatrist determines the cause of your ankle instability, they can recommend the proper treatment for you.
Treating Ankle Instability
Your doctor will offer several non-invasive treatments first. If these fail to give you good results, surgery will be the next step.
Non-invasive approaches include:
Physical therapy - A physical therapist will work with the muscles and tendons in your ankle to strengthen them. They will be better able to support your ankle and prevent it from spraining.
Custom orthotics - Shoe inserts, foot and ankle braces may be prescribed to hold your ankle in a more stable position. These may be used while you're getting physical therapy to give you more support while the muscles and tendons are getting stronger.
Surgical approaches include:
Tendon and Ligament Repair - An orthopedic surgeon will shorten the ligaments that hold the bones together and the tendons that attach the muscles to the bones. This will "tighten up" your ankle so it doesn't move beyond the natural limits and cause a sprain.
Bone Resurfacing - If the bones in your ankle have become worn down, the surgeon will reshape the surface so the bones move against each other smoothly.
Total Joint Replacement - If the damage to the bone from a disease is significant, the orthopedic doctor may suggest a replacement of the joint surfaces with an artificial joint made of metal and plastic.
For a professional podiatrist, go to an office such as Northside Foot & Ankle.
I am one of those people who hates going to the doctor. In the past, I have relied on everything from cranberry juice to apple cider vinegar to fix my ails. As I get older though, I find that I need to rely more on traditional medicine than I did in the past. What I found out from my doctor is that I did not have to give up the holistic medicines I used. I could combine them. This blog is designed to help others focus on how to combing holistic treatments with traditional medicine in a safe and fun way.