What Is Chronic Ankle Instability?

Apr 23, 2021

What Is Chronic Ankle Instability?

ankle instability, as the name implies, is a chronic condition of instability
affecting the ankle and it’s surrounding structures. It usually develops after
a severe ankle sprain. However, some people are born with less stable ankles;
these individuals are generally extra flexible throughout their bodies.
Approximately 20% of ankle sprains lead to chronic ankle instability due to the
resulting changes in ligament support, strength, postural control, muscle reaction
time and sensation.

What are the symptoms?

well as being more susceptible to ankle sprains, people with chronic ankle
instability may notice they are extra cautious during high-intensity
activities, if running on uneven surfaces or when changing directions quickly.
They may experience a sense of weakness or frequent ‘giving way’ when

What are the causes?

primary causes of this condition are ligament laxity, decreased muscle strength
of the muscles surrounding the ankle and reduced proprioception.

an ankle sprain, ligaments can be stretched and slightly weaker; in severe
cases, they have torn altogether, leaving the ankle structurally weaker.
Without full rehabilitation, the surrounding muscles also become weaker, and
studies have shown that balance and sensation of the ankle can also be reduced.
This means that the ankle is more likely to be injured again, creating a
vicious cycle leading to further instability.

How can physiotherapy help?

treatment for chronic ankle instability focuses on improving strength, control
and balance with a variety of techniques. This approach can significantly
improve ankle stability and reduce the risk of future sprains. Physiotherapists
can help patients to regain confidence and get back to their best

some cases,


braces for support can be used. However, this can lead to
dependence and further loss of strength and control if used
unnecessarily. In cases of extreme ligament laxity or if physiotherapy
fails, surgery to repair the damaged ligaments is considered. This is usually
combined with a full physiotherapy rehabilitation program for greatest success.

Find out more about orthotics



If you don’t feel 100% confident with
your ankle, come and have a chat with one of our physiotherapists to see if we
can help improve your ankle stability.

None of the
information in this article is a replacement for proper medical advice. Always
see a medical professional for advice on your individual injury.

If you need any further information, please feel free to message us at, or call us at 028 92666959

Call us to find out more about our 100% FREE Discovery visit.

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