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Ankle Ligament Tear / Ankle Instability

Conveniently located to serve Artesia, Rancho Cucamonga, and surrounding areas

The ankle is held together by both ligaments and tendons. The ligaments on both sides of the ankle are tightly attached to the bones. On the outside (lateral) aspect of the ankle, there are three major ligaments. They help to restrict the motion of the ankle joint. Sprains are caused by an injury to the ankle, from normal walking events to sports injuries to falls from a height. Most sprains are of the inversion type. When a patient twists the ankle, this usually occurs with the bottom of the foot turning towards the other foot, leading the outside of the foot and ankle to roll to the ground.

When the ligaments are injured, they can be stretched out or torn, leading to a sprain, which weakens them. There can also be damage done to the cartilage of the ankle joint, leading to a defect of the cartilage (osteochondral defect) and ankle arthritis. In cases that are left untreated, or after many sprains in a short period of time, there will be weakening of the ligaments leading to instability of the ankle. It is called lateral ankle instability.

ankle-ligamenttearThere may be swelling, bruising, pain, clicking, ankle instability, and recurrent ankle sprains. Clinical examination, X-rays, and MRI are needed to make the proper diagnosis.

When to Come in for Ankle Ligament Tear/Ankle Instability Treatment

Because an ankle ligament tear comes with symptoms many might dismiss as typical aches or soreness after physically demanding activities, patients might be tempted to ignore them.

However, if the pain doesn’t go away after a few days and has increased to the point of significant inconvenience or loss of mobility, you should immediately come in for a consultation.

If caught early enough, this injury can be treated effectively with less invasive methods, allowing the ligaments to recover completely. Leaving the injury untreated risks the need for more expensive procedures or can even result in permanent impairment.

Treatments for Angle Ligament Tear/Ankle Instability

Most of the time, initial treatments are conservative therapy. Conservative therapy includes icing, ankle bracing, immobilization, injections, physical therapy, and range of motion exercises.

If surgery is indicated, surgical correction depends on the severity of the injury to the ligaments. In some cases, the stretched-out ligaments can be tightened through arthroscopy. In most cases, the ankle joint will need to be opened over the area of the ligaments and repaired by placing them back onto the bone in their anatomic position. This repair will tighten and strengthen the ligaments again.

Ankle Ligament Tear/Ankle Instability Treatment Aftercare

If the ankle ligament tear is treated early, the recovery period may be just a few days.

If a surgical procedure is performed, the downtime can last several weeks, depending on the severity of the injury. You should not put any pressure on your ankles during the recovery period and follow the instructions provided as closely as possible.

Ankle Ligament Tear/Ankle Instability FAQs

What criteria determine whether surgery or non-surgical treatment is recommended for an ankle ligament tear?

The choice between surgical and non-surgical treatments for an ankle ligament tear depends on several factors, including the severity of the tear, your activity level, and the presence of concurrent injuries. Surgery criteria often involve significant ligament damage or failure of non-surgical treatment methods to restore stability.

What are the potential complications of untreated ankle ligament tears and chronic ankle instability?

Untreated ankle ligament tears and chronic ankle instability can lead to ongoing discomfort, increased risk of further injury, and the development of arthritis. Potential complications include persistent pain, decreased mobility, and the inability to engage in regular physical activities.

How does ankle ligament tear surgery address scar tissue formation and its impact on flexibility and strength?

Surgery aims to repair the torn ligament and improve stability while minimizing scar tissue formation that can affect flexibility and strength. Techniques may include ligament reconstruction and removal of loose fragments, which help to restore the ankle’s natural range of motion and prevent long-term mobility issues.

What specific exercises or therapies are most effective for strengthening the ankle post-injury and preventing future instability?

Physical therapy, including exercises that focus on improving balance, strength, and flexibility, is crucial for ankle recovery. Our specialist, Dr. Shawn Rabbani, may recommend resistance training, proprioception exercises, and stretching routines to reinforce the muscles around the ankle and prevent future instability.

Can ankle braces or orthotic devices effectively manage ankle instability, and how are they integrated into treatment plans?

Ankle braces and orthotic devices can play a key role in managing ankle instability, especially in the early stages of recovery or during physical activities. They provide additional support and protection, reducing the risk of re-injury. These devices are often integrated into a comprehensive treatment plan alongside physical therapy and other interventions.

Find Out More

Get the professional help you need for your ankle ligament tear or ankle instability. If you’re in Artesia, Rancho Cucamonga, or surrounding areas, come to My Foot Clinic. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Rabbani to learn more about treatment options for ankle ligament tears/ankle instability in Artesia. Contact us today to set up your appointment.

Any medical or health advice provided will be approved by a medically-trained and qualified professional unless a clear statement otherwise. The information provided on this site is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between patient and physician. Consult with your physician regarding a proper treatment plan for you.

The team at My Foot Clinic are highly trained and widely recognized as the best podiatrist in and around Reseda, Canoga Park, West Hills, Northridge, Chatsworth, Tarzana, Encino, Van Nuys, Artesia, Cerritos, and Norwalk.