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853 Jefferson Ave
Washington, PA 15301
(724) 225-7410
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By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
April 13, 2016

Have you sprained your ankle more than once? Do you experience pain and swelling when you exercise or play sports? If you answered yes, you may be suffering from chronic ankle instability, a condition we frequently see at Philip S. Pinsker, DPM in the spring when patients often begin to intensify their exercise regimen.

Ankles with a Past

The most common cause of chronic ankle instability is a past sprain that did not fully heal or was not completely rehabilitated. In some cases, patients discontinue physical therapy and exercises prescribed by their podiatrist because their ankle feels better. While the pain in the ankle may be gone, if the surrounding muscles are not strengthened to support the ankle, balance is affected and another sprain is likely. This starts a vicious cycle—with each repeated sprain the ankle ligaments are stretched more and more and the ankle gets weaker. If you have chronic ankle instability, you may often feel like your ankle is going to “give way” and it may twist more often, especially on uneven surfaces. In addition to the pain and swelling, your ankle feels wobbly and weak.

Treatment and Prevention

Our board certified podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker will want to get a detailed medical history from you and particularly hear about past sprains and ankle issues. He will then examine your ankle, paying particular attention to the areas where it is tender or swollen. X-rays or other imaging studies may also be ordered. Once the foot doctor understands the full extent of your ankle instability, a treatment plan that suits your lifestyle can be developed. It may include:

  • Medications—the podiatrist may recommend nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve pain and inflammation.

  • Bracing—an ankle brace can provide support for the ankle and help prevent it from turning.

  • Physical Therapy—a physical therapist can give you exercises and treatments that will help you improve balance, strengthen the muscles surrounding your ankle and increase your range of motion.

To prevent chronic ankle sprains, make sure that you complete all physical therapy that the foot doctor prescribes if you do sprain your ankle. Shoes that support the ankle are also essential for protection. If you have additional questions or are experiencing discomfort in your ankle, make an appointment at our Washington office by calling:  (724) 225- 7410.

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