Dr. Sheryl Smith
In a small number of injury cases, the ligaments will not heal back as strong as normal. The result is an ankle that has a tendency to “give away” or twist again very easily.
Patients who experience ligament instability may find that they change their lifestyle in order to keep from reinjuring their ankle.
While that is fine in many cases, patients sometimes feel like they are making quality of life choices by giving up certain activities.
When an injury has not healed properly, or if the injury has more advanced that suspected, the ligaments surrounding the ankle become lax. The nerve endings can also remain torn, so that the do not properly signal the brain to stabilize the ankle joint.
The amount of time that it takes an injury to heal, and the number of times the injury reoccurs is key to good diagnosis. Sometimes an MRI is used to evaluate chronic tendon and ligament tears.
Pain is usually consistent with the original injury. Over time, it may feel like the foot and ankle stay perpetually swollen. If the foot and ankle are not routinely exercised, the joint will grow stiff and have restricted motion.
A good physical therapy program will help retrain these nerves as they repair themselves, and will strengthen certain muscles that will take over some of the functions of stabilizing the ankle joint from the loss of the ligaments. An ankle brace may also help control some of the instability and prevent the ankle from giving way.
If all these simple measures fail, surgery may be suggested to reconstruct the ligaments that have been torn. Surgery involves making an incision on the side of the ankle so that the lateral ligaments can be reconstructed. After surgery, you will usually be placed in a cast or brace for about 6 weeks to allow the tendon reconstruction to heal. Following removal of the cast, physical therapy will be required to regain full use of the ankle. It is important to follow an exercise regiment that strengthens range of motion, balance, and muscle tone.
9800 Broadway Extension,
Oklahoma City, OK 73114
OKFootMD Dr. Sheryl Smith