Your ankles play a crucial role in helping you maintain your balance and getting from one place to another, but because they channel a lot of stress with every step you take, they are also hotspots for injuries. This is especially true during athletic activity, as ankle sprains are the top cause of injury in a few different sports.
An ankle sprain may not seem like a big deal and many minor or mild forms heal with conservative care techniques, but there might be a bigger issue lying underneath the surface. Significant or repeated ankle sprains can damage the supportive ligaments on each side of your ankle, and when these ligaments can’t adequately support your ankle joint, the whole area becomes unstable.
Fortunately, ankle instability is just one of the many areas we specialize in treating. Below, we take a closer look at how we work to rehabilitate unstable ankle ligaments.
Treating Ankle Instability With Physical Therapy
Do you feel like it doesn’t take much for you to sprain or roll your ankle? Does your ankle sometimes give out when you’re on uneven surfaces? If so, you may be dealing with underlying ankle instability. The condition is usually the result of a previous ankle injury in which the supportive ankle ligaments were stretched and damaged. Sometimes these ligaments heal properly, but other times they remain in a weakened state and leave you predisposed to future ankle sprains. You end up in a cycle of ankle instability, with each future sprain only making full recovery harder to come by.
That’s where we can step in. Physical therapy is the preferred treatment method in the vast majority of cases of unstable ankles. Rest can give your ankle ligaments some time to heal and avoid the risk of another injury, but rest won’t do anything to strengthen the weakened ligaments or supportive muscles. Physical therapy takes your recovery to the next level by safely targeting key structures and soft tissues to improve their stability without putting your ankles at risk of further damage. Sometimes it’s a delicate road to balance, but it’s one we’ve walked hundreds of times and one we’ll walk again with countless clients in the future.
One of the biggest hurdles to successful ankle stability management is that an unstable ankle isn’t typically painful. It may feel a little loose or you may have less confidence in the ankle, but since the majority of us aren’t making a living with athletic endeavours, many people just tolerate the instability and curse it when they suffer another inevitable ankle sprain. Just because it’s not painful now doesn’t mean it won’t be painful down the road, and an unstable ankle puts you at a higher risk for injuries like sprains and fractures, so it’s important to actively treat the problem now.
So regardless of whether you’re trying to reclaim that first quick step on the basketball court or you just want more confidence in your ankle when walking on uneven ground, consider setting up an appointment with a PT at OrthoRehab Specialists. We have therapists that specialize in ankle and foot biomechanics, and we can quickly and safely work to get you back to pre-injury levels of fitness. For more information, contact our team today.