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Ankle injury - Ankle instability - Chronic

What Is Chronic Ankle Instability?  

Chronic ankle instability is a condition characterised by a recurring giving way of the outer (lateral) side of the ankle. This condition often develops after repeated ankle sprains. People with chronic ankle instability often complain of:

  • A repeated turning of the ankle, especially on uneven surfaces or when participating in sports

  • Persistent (chronic) discomfort and swelling

  • Pain or tenderness

  • The ankle feeling wobbly or unstable



Chronic ankle instability usually develops following an ankle sprain that has not adequately healed or was not rehabilitated completely. When you sprain your ankle, the connective tissues (ligaments) are stretched or torn.


The ability to balance is often affected. Proper rehabilitation is essential to strengthen the muscles around the ankle and retrain the tissues within the ankle that affect balance. Failure to do so may result in repeat sprains.

Repeated ankle sprains often cause chronic ankle instability. Each subsequent sprain leads to further  stretching/ tearing of the ligaments, resulting in greater instability.

Conservative Treatment

  • Rehabilitation: various treatments and exercises to strengthen the ankle, improve balance and range of motion and retrain your muscles.

  • Bracing. Some patients wear an ankle brace to gain support for the ankle and keep the ankle from turning. Bracing also helps prevent additional ankle sprains.

In some cases, surgery will be recommended if conservative rehabilitation fails and typically it is based on the degree of instability and pain. Surgery usually involves repair or reconstruction of the damaged ligament(s). The surgeon will select the surgical procedure best suited for your case based on the severity of the instability and your activity level. The length of the recovery period will vary, depending on the procedure or procedures performed.

Global Rehabilitation Network

  • We provide a complete online program of 12 consecutive weeks of instructions on how to conservatively manage this injury

  • We provide a global network of therapists that can chat remotely via our Telehealth services to guide you through the process week by week for minimal cost.

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