One of the most common injuries involving the ankle is a sprain, and left untreated, it can lead to chronic ankle instability and persistent pain. At the Houston & Pearland, TX orthopedic offices of Eugene Stautberg, MD, Dr. Stautberg has a variety of treatment options, up to surgery if necessary, to restore the health and stability of your ankle joint. Learn more about treating ankle instability by scheduling an appointment online or by phone.
Your ankle joint is made up of the tibia, fibula, and the dome of the talus bone. These bones work together with the nearby ligaments and tendons to align and stabilize your ankle and foot.
Ankle instability can occur following an ankle sprain that doesn’t heal properly. Sprains can be the result of walking or other activities, often sports-related, and involve the stretching or tearing of the ligaments of your ankle.
When your ankle loses stability, the foot turns in or inverts out, especially when walking or running on uneven surfaces, making your ankle feel unstable or chronically wobbly.
You may also feel tenderness or pain on the outside of your ankle, symptoms that grow more persistent with activities such as walking, standing, or playing sports. An unstable ankle may also swell up, limiting your mobility.
Dr. Stautberg discusses your previous ankle injuries to determine if repetitive sprains may be causing instability. He also performs a physical evaluation, checking your foot and ankle for signs of tenderness, swelling, and instability.
To confirm a diagnosis of ankle instability, Dr. Stautberg may recommend imaging tests, including X-rays, to determine if your ankle is out of alignment and to rule out other ankle injuries.
Initially, Dr. Stautberg may recommend physical therapy to improve the strength of your ankle joint and increase your range of motion. He may also recommend periods of rest to let a sprained ankle heal properly.
To reduce pain and swelling in your ankle and foot, Dr. Stautberg may recommend over-the-counter medications to keep you comfortable.
In some cases, you may need a brace to provide stability for your ankle and prevent additional sprains.
If ankle instability is chronic and can’t be helped with physical therapy, Dr. Stautberg may suggest surgery to reconstruct damaged ligaments and restabilize your ankle joint. He can recommend the best surgical options based on your age and level of activity. He also uses ankle arthroscopy, where a small camera is inserted into the ankle, to evaluate and treat any associated cartilage lesions.
Learn more about available treatment options for healing ankle sprains and preventing ankle instability by scheduling a consultation with Dr. Stautberg online or by calling his office directly.