Ankle Instability

Foot & Ankle Specialists of New Mexico

Podiatrists & Foot and Ankle Surgeons located in Albuquerque, NM, Rio Rancho, NM, South Valley, NM, Edgewood, NM & Grants, NM

Ankle instability is a serious problem in which your ankle keeps folding outward. It’s a common issue after repeated ankle sprains or incomplete healing, but you can overcome ankle instability with help from the expert podiatric physicians at Foot & Ankle Specialists of New Mexico. As the largest foot and ankle specialty practice in the state, they offer everything you need from diagnostics to specialized ankle instability care at five convenient locations in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho, South Valley, Edgewood, and Grants, New Mexico. Book your appointment online or call the office nearest you.

Ankle Instability Q & A

What is ankle instability?

Ankle instability refers to chronic issues with ankle weakness and stability. If you have ankle instability, the lateral ankle (your outer ankle) often gives way. 

Many ankle instability sufferers say their ankle feels wobbly, especially when walking on uneven ground, running, or participating in sports. Your ankle could also buckle when you’re standing still if you have ankle instability. 

The most common cause of ankle instability is repeated inversion ankle sprains, which means stretching or tearing in the ligaments in your outer ankle. If you keep using your ankle before you're at full strength and completely healed, it can increase your risk for ankle instability.

What are the symptoms of an ankle sprain?

The main symptom of ankle sprains is pain centered in your ankle and foot. It’s also common to have bruising, which comes from burst blood vessels. Most ankle sprains include significant swelling as well. 

If you have a sprained ankle, it's usually difficult to bear weight fully without worsening your pain. Depending on how severe the ligament tear is, you may not be able to stand or walk after spraining your ankle.

Why do I need medical care for ankle sprains?

Far too many ankle sprains go untreated today, most likely because sufferers don't understand how serious torn ligaments can really be. Untreated ankle sprains that lead to ankle instability could eventually leave you immobile. 

However, these complications are very preventable if you get proper care for your ankle sprain. Treatment right away is an investment in your healthy future.  

How do you diagnose ankle instability?

Your doctor at Foot & Ankle Specialists of New Mexico examines your foot and ankle to check for abnormal rotation, and then tests your muscles. 

Because ankle sprains and bone fractures can have similar physical symptoms, your doctor may use the on-site X-ray imaging, ultrasound, or both to definitively determine the cause and severity of your ankle instability. 

For ankle instability, you may need a special stress X-ray, a radiologic view in which your doctor positions your foot in a specific way to reveal joint instability and ligament damage. 

If your doctor suspects severe ligament damage, you may also need a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. If your doctor suspects serious bone damage, you may need a computed tomography (CT) scan. 

How do you treat ankle instability? 

Your doctor at Foot & Ankle Specialists of New Mexico may prescribe cold therapy, ankle compression, custom orthotics, and stabilizing devices like braces. 

If you have severe ankle instability, you may need surgery to repair the damaged ligaments. The podiatrists use the most conservative approach possible to help you heal. 

Get long-term healing for ankle instability by calling the Foot & Ankle Specialists of New Mexico office nearest you or book online today.