Ankle Instability

The feeling of a joint giving way is termed instability.  There are two main causes of the ankle joint giving way.  These are:

  • Pain
  • True instability

Most patients who present with symptoms of ‘giving way’ actually have pain and it is this that causes the problem.  After an ankle sprain most patients settle and physiotherapy is very helpful in achieving this.  However, some people continue to have problems which range from full blown giving way during walking or exercise to a feeling of just not being right.

When your ankle is examined it may prove to be lax compared with the uninjured joint.  However in most patients this is not as important as what may be inside the joint.  After a sprain, scar tissue can form and become trapped in the ankle joint causing impingement.  Also the joint surface can be damaged and result in small tears of the cartilage.  These may trap or even dislodge completely and these connditions can cause pain and giving way.

Often an arthroscopy is necessary to clear any scar tissue or joint surface problems from the joint.  Even if the ligaments have been damaged and the joint is lax when examined, 90% of patients will recover very well after an arthroscopy.  This means that only 10% of patients would need a ligament reconstruction operation.

If you have suffered from a sprained ankle you should wear an ankle support when exercising, for 6 months afterwards.

Ankle Arthroscopy