The ankle is a part of the body that is usually overlooked until there's a problem, but people with weak or unstable ankles are always conscious of those small joints supporting all their weight. Fear of rolling your ankle and struggling with the pain of sprain can keep you from exercising, strolling through the park with friends, or choosing the stairs instead of the elevator. Restore the strength of your ankle to prevent these uncomfortable experiences with at least one of these five treatments.
When you first experience a stumble or fall due to your ankle turning out from under you, your doctor can recommend a number of stretches and exercises to try at home. Strengthening the muscles around the ankle help you avoid further turns and sprains that worsen the damage to your ligaments. By taking action and sticking to an exercise plan at the very first sign of trouble, you can avoid surgery and painful sprains.
If doing the exercises on your own doesn't work or you're already experiencing swelling and pain due to the stress on your ligaments, you may get a referral for physical therapy instead. The therapist can offer more controlled stretching to work out tightness in the muscles and tendons. Once the foot is relaxed and less painful, you can start building up your ankle strength, flexibility, and balance again.
Of course, both conservative treatments like physical therapy and more advanced options like surgery take some time to improve the stability of the ankle. Wearing an ankle or lower leg brace won't completely heal and reverse the problem causing ankle instability, but it is the best short-term way to prevent any more turns. If you're at risk for breaking your leg due to the instability or can't get rid of the pain until you stop the cycle of sprains, wearing a brace between therapy visits or before surgery can reduce damage and help you walk with confidence again.
Most cases of chronically unstable and weak ankles begin because of a sudden injury like a fracture or a sprain. However, sometimes this ligament and tendon issue arises because the soles of your feet are uneven and pushing your weight outward over the ankle. A podiatrist can quickly examine your feet and your standing posture to determine if it's your feet causing the problem. Custom molded insoles correct the tilt and clear up the ankle weakness.
In non-responsive cases of ankle instability, surgery is necessary to relieve the pain and stabilize the joint. The ligament approach involves steps like
- Locating the damaged sections of the ankle ligaments
- Removing torn material and connecting the healthy sections together
- Re-attaching the ligament to the bone and closing up the surgical site.
While this option for repairing your ankle won't work for severe cases of damage, it does provide you with a faster recovery time than other surgeries. You'll also notice your ankle is nearly as flexible as it once was because this method is designed to limit stiffening in the ligaments.
The most thorough treatment for a weak ankle involves a complex form of surgery in which the doctor removes a small piece of tendon from another part of the leg. This tendon section is inserted to replace the stretched and torn ligament, providing as much stability as possible at the cost of joint flexibility.
Only an experienced podiatrist or orthopedist can tell you which treatment option is best due to the severity of the damage to your ankle. Seek help instead of trying to solve the problem all on your own, or you may end up with surgery as the only option left. For more information, visit sites like http://www.yourfootdocs.com.