Chronic Ankle Instability

Chronic Ankle Instability

Chronic Ankle Instability

This is such an important topic.  I suffered an ankle sprain at the start of 2022 and made quite a mess of things!  I returned to running way to quickly and had to ease right back.  I also think this injury contributed to the following Achilles injury as my ROM didn’t quite return to normal.  So please don’t view it as just a ‘simple’ ankle sprain.  Have a read……..

Hello everyone, its Andrew here and today I am writing about a problem which is experienced by many and often managed poorly leading to long term issues.

Chronic Ankle Instability (CAI) is a term used to refer to an issue where an individual experiences repeated Lateral Ankle Sprains (LAS), which are more commonly referred to as ‘rolling’ of an ankle. When an individual experiences a LAS or rolling of the ankle, ligamentous structures are commonly damaged. The most commonly affected ligament is the Anterior Talofibular Ligament (ATFL) and the severity of the damage can vary significantly depending on the mechanism of injury and condition of the individual.

When an individual experiences a LAS they will commonly present with initial symptoms such as reduced mobility, swelling and bruising as well as the obvious pain and discomfort over the first few days/weeks. People often make the mistake of returning to sport/exercise immediately once these initial symptoms have settled. This however is a mistake which can often lead to re-injury, as the underlying structures such as the ATFL have still not fully recovered to their previous strength.


Often, people get stuck in this cycle of experiencing the injury, returning prematurely, getting re-injured and repeating. This repeated cycle of injury is referred to as chronic ankle instability and if not addressed quickly can lead to biomechanical deficits and resultant injury risk over an extended time period. So, what SHOULD someone experiencing this cycle do?


Well, firstly they should be assessed by a trained practitioner such as myself to identify the structures involved and the severity of the injury. Following this, the individual will receive explanation and advice around the management of their affected ankle. It is likely that the individual will be advised to take a period of time away from their sport/exercise and they will be prescribed exercises designed to strengthen the muscles which stabilise the ankle. This rehabilitation programme will allow the damaged structures to heal while strengthening surrounding muscles.


As a result, the individual will reach a point after a period of rehabilitation where the structures which have not been able to heal have returned to strength and the supporting structures equally strengthened, reducing the likelihood of re-injury and hopefully breaking the cycle previously mentioned.


If you or someone you know are suffering with a chronic ankle instability or any other musculoskeletal injury, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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