Ankle Pain: Why Does My Ankle Keep Giving Out?
Having to constantly think about whether your ankle will hold up while you walk, run, or even try to just stand can be immobilizing. Your ankles provide support, balance and stability so when they’re injured it can significantly limit your ability to move. But why does your ankle keep giving out in the first place?
- Ankle Sprains: An ankle sprain is usually the cause of an ankle giving out due to overextension or an awkward landing. An ankle sprain can cause weakened ligaments and muscles that need time to heal.
- Chronic Ankle Instability: Chronic ankle instability happens when the ligaments have been weakened or stretched out due to repeated sprains or trauma. This can cause the ankle joint to become hyperflexible and affect the stability of the ankle.
- Arthritis: The most common form of arthritis that causes ankle pain is osteoarthritis and can result in weakened, swollen, and stiff joints due to the breakdown of joint and cartilage around the ankle.
- Overuse: Too much physical activity and lack of recovery time can lead to muscle and tendon imbalances in the ankle which leads to increased instability or pain.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you often experience pain or instability in your ankle, you should see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis. After a physical examination, the doctor may determine if an X-ray, MRI or other imaging is necessary.
Depending on the diagnosis, treatment may include:
- Rest: Resting the ankle and avoiding physical activity for a period of time will help the ankle recover faster.
- Ice: Applying an ice pack to the area 20 minutes at a time several times a day is an effective way to reduce inflammation and pain.
- Compression: Wrapping the ankle with an elastic bandage will help support the joint and reduce pain.
- Physical Therapy: Strengthening and stretching exercises designed to improve ankle function and stability can help with pain and prevent future injuries.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and swelling.
If the ankle pain is severe and non-responsive to other treatments, the doctor may recommend surgery.
If you experience persistent ankle pain and instability, it is important to see the doctor and determine the underlying cause. With the right diagnosis and treatment, it is possible to reduce pain and improve the stability of your ankle.
3. Are there any specific exercises or activities that can help alleviate my ankle giving out?
Yes, there are specific exercises and activities that can help with ankle giving out. Strengthening and stretching exercises, such as lateral ankle walks, calf raises, and plantar fasciitis stretches, can help build strength and flexibility in your ankle and reduce the risk of ankle instability. Additionally, balance exercises, such as using wobble boards or balance discs, can help improve your balance and coordination, while sports-specific drills can help improve your agility and coordination. Finally, wearing an ankle brace or support, such as an ankle sleeve or a taped brace, can provide additional stability and support to your ankle.