Tens of thousands of Americans sprain or roll their ankles every day, and while many of them make a full recovery, some people are left with less confidence in their ankle even after recovery has run its course. If one of your ankles feels less stable than the other, or you simply have less confidence in one of your feet when exercising or competing in athletics, know that this feeling isn’t just in your head. Odds are you are dealing with an unstable ankle. Below, we take a closer look at how you can restore confidence in your ankle and stabilize the joint.
Restoring Confidence In Your Unstable Ankle
An unstable ankle typically develops in the wake of an injury that doesn’t fully heal. Many people oftentimes assume that an ankle sprain has fully healed because pain eventually fully subsides, but that’s simply not true. Your ankle joint can be unstable and painless. Pain after an ankle sprain usually disappears after a few days or weeks, but if you’re not actively working to help strengthen the injured structures in your ankle, instability will remain even in the absence of pain.
So what can you do to help stabilize your ankle joint after an injury? It really comes down to pursuing active treatment techniques. Far too many people rely on passive treatments like rest, anti-inflammatory medications and activity avoidance after an ankle sprain, and while these can be helpful components of a treatment plan, these actions alone will not help to stabilize the ankle. You need to also pursue some active treatments that target the supportive ankle ligaments.
Your ankle ligaments are what provide support to your ankle joint, and it’s these ligaments that are stretched, damaged or torn during a sprain. Rest and activity avoidance can help to protect these ligaments from further damage, but they won’t help them get back to a pre-injury level of strength. It’s kind of like getting a small dent in your car. You can park the car in your garage after the accident to ensure it isn’t damaged further, but unless you proactively treat the damage, the dent will always linger. If you’re not trying to strengthen your ankle ligaments, this damage, and in turn this instability and lack of confidence in your ankle, will linger forever.
Fortunately it is never too late to work towards strengthening these ankle ligaments. It doesn’t matter if your initial ankle injury occurred one week or 10 years ago, if you are willing to put in the work, your ankle will become stronger because of it, and odds are you’ll find a new sense of confidence in your ankle joint. Some of the best ways to strengthen your weakened ankle ligaments include:
- Controlled Exercise
- Physical Therapy
- Gentle Stretching Techniques
Physical therapy is likely the most effective of the techniques listed above because you’ll receive individualized guidance from a professional who can develop a training routine based on your needs and goals. They’ll also be able to help you gradually take on more stress so that you strengthen your ankle ligaments without overloading them during your recovery. We can refer you to a physical therapist or set you up with some home-based exercises based on your injuries and your goals for returning to sport or activity. We’re confident that you’ll notice a major improvement in ankle strength and confidence after just a few sessions.
You should have complete confidence in your ankles when you’re exercising or pursuing athletic endeavors, and that won’t happen if you’re still dealing with the fallout of an ankle injury that never fully healed. Let Dr. McDonald and his team help restore stability in your ankle joints and get you back to all the activities you love with confidence in your ankles. For more information, or to talk to Dr. McDonald about a different foot or ankle issue, reach out to his team today at (860) 244-8889.