Chronic Ankle Instability: What to Do When a Sprained Ankle Won’t Heal

Chronic Ankle Instability refers to a condition where there is giving away of the outer or lateral side of your ankle. It occurs after having repeated strains on your ankle. In addition, it happens when you are participating in certain physical activities or walking on uneven surfaces.

Symptoms of Chronic Ankle Instability

People who suffer from chronic ankle instability often complain regarding the following symptoms.

  • Tenderness or pain
  • A feeling of instability or wobbliness in your ankle
  • Persistent and chronic swelling and discomfort
  • A repeated turning of your ankle on some uneven surfaces or when you participate in sports

Causes of Chronic Ankle Instability

Chronic ankle instability occurs from an ankle sprain that has not healed adequately or rehabilitated completely. When you sprain the ankle, the ligaments or connective tissues are torn or stretched. Your ability to balance gets affected. You need proper rehabilitation to strengthen your muscles around your ankle and retrain the tissues within your ankle that affect your balance.

Repetitive ankle sprains perpetuate and cause chronic ankle instability. Each sprain subsequently results in further stretching or weakening of your ligaments that leads to greater instability and the chances of getting additional ankle-related problems.

Diagnosis of Chronic Ankle Instability

MRI is one of the most useful ways of diagnosing chronic ankle instability. It can identify any injury on the ligament as fiber discontinuity, swelling, wavy or lax ligament, and non-visualisation.

Treatment for Chronic Ankle Instability

  • Non-Surgical Treatment

  1. Medications
  2. Bracing
  3. Physical therapy
  • Surgical Treatment- Ligament repair


If you require any assistance or consultation for your chronic ankle instability, you can reach out to Dr. Chetan Oswal at Orthowin Foot and Ankle Clinic in Pune.