Chronic Ankle Instability is a condition that causes inactivity and pain in the ankle. This condition can be described as ankle instabilitybecause it is basically loss of movement. In ankle instability condition your leg joints are incapable of two functions movement and balance of position. The ankle instability is generally caused by recurrent sprains that persist because the healing process of your injury is incomplete. Your leg muscles and nerves are connected and interrelated that stretch and fray due to unattended injuries.
Ankle Instability leads to discontinuance of various physical activities like walking, running, standing and playing of any sport . This disability is very serious because without the ability to walk – your life may come to a standstill. You may not be able to do the daily chores let alone the inability to earn a living.
Thanks to Foot specialists this condition can be treated with successful results. Chronic ankle instability is usually of temporary nature but it could turn into a disability of permanent or consistent nature, if proper care is not taken. It means that the disability can become chronic, if the foot condition deteriorates and results in further complications. Ankle instability is common in sports athletes but its occurrence is also not mentioned in the general public.
How does my leg function?
We all know that we use legs to walk, run, and jump or for any kind of mobility. Just like there are sensory cells in our brains to propel an action like hand movement, there are sensory functions inside our leg that detect movement and understand balance.
How do I understand balance? – Proprioception
The Proprioception function is responsible for the balancing act and it actually determines the position of your leg joints in space.
How do I determine sense of movement? – Kinesthesia
The Kinesthesia function takes care of your leg joint movements.
These two functions are interrelated / interdependent and they are associated with the Mechanoreceptors. The appropriate functioning of Mechanoreceptors is required for developing a synergy of the muscles and nerves to determine movement and balance.
We can infer from the above, that the functioning of the joints is a cohesive system and the disruption of any part of the system causes pain, sprain, and swelling. Now, if we ignore this pain, sprain, numbness and swelling in the ankle the instability further developments and turns into chronic instability. Here it is absolutely necessary to pursue one of the suitable Non-surgical procedures to prevent further worsening of your leg mobility and balance functions. Avoidance of both internal and external injuries may lead to Chronic Ankle Instability.
Chronic Ankle disability may be diagnosed by the following common symptoms:
- Swelling of the ankle
- Acute pain,
- An increase in the size of arch
- Weakness and instability of the foot and ankle
- Warmth to the touch
It can be understood that the above symptoms can be apparent to anyone, but a proper diagnosis must be done at the Podiatry clinic. Depending on the severity of the condition the foot doctor recommends one or more treatment options. The treatment options can be of surgical nature in very rare cases and mostly fall under the Non-surgical category. Thus the recovery period may vary accordingly.
Surgical procedures are considered in extreme cases when the disability is chronic or persistent. Before making the decision to opt for surgery, the Podiatrists implement all possible non-surgical procedures. The patients who go through surgery have torn ligaments that cause loosing of the ankle joints and complete malfunction of the leg movement activity.
Ankle joint instability can be determined by Physical Examination as well as X-ray Tests ;
The Podiatrist can determine ankle instability by a thorough comparison of the injured ankle with the healthy ankle. The difference in intensity of the ligaments suggests the level of ankle instability.
When physical examination is not enough to diagnose whether the ankle is unstable or not, Foot doctors may recommend the patient to go for an X-ray test.
This procedure simply means keeping your bones stagnant / immobile. Stability of bones is required in the healing process of internal and external swelling. Foot doctors use splints or casts to hold the bones together while the natural healing happens. Splints and Casts can be custom-made / ready-made; the foot specialist decides whether to use a splint or a cast.
Medication is used to reduce the pain and burning sensation due to leg injury. It works internally and naturally helps healing by keeping you calm.
Physical therapy is used to reduce the symptoms like pain and swelling. Post therapy the foot specialist recommends exercises that are necessary to regain the tissue strength.
Brace is a podiatric device that supports your leg joints and allows painless movement. Bracing is done when a patient can not opt surgical treatment option either because it's unaffordable or useless.
We should conclude that although finest treatments are available for the ankle instability disorder – Prevention is always better than Cure.
I would suggest a few common sense precautions to prevent this disorder –
- Always wear comfortable shoes.
- If you are an adventure sports lover like a rock climber, please learn the adventure sport thoroughly before playing it. Needless to say, take all the safety measures.
- Do not sit, stand and sleep in uncomfortable positions. Take extra space so you can sleep or sit comfortably.
- Please climb up and down the building or any staircase carefully. Do not move in a reckless way anywhere.
- Remember – Accidents can be a result of a precaution not taken!
- Most safety measures are common sense!
- Always consult the doctor for any discomfort or minute pain in the leg.
- Untreated Minor injuries can turn into Major disorders!