Chronic ankle instability is usually caused by repeated ankle sprains or strains and is described as the gradual giving way of the outside of the ankle. Symptoms of ankle instability typically occur after a sprain or after the ankle is strained, and consist of constant inflammation or swelling, tenderness, and weakness in the ankle.
A sprained ankle occurs when you unnaturally twist your ankle, causing the ligaments holding your ankle bones together to stretch or tear. Most sprained ankles involve injuries to the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle.
Similarly, a strain can happen when there is a sudden twist, pull, or tear in the muscles or tendons in the ankle. Chronic strains are those that occur over several days or weeks and are usually caused by repetitive movements.
Treatment for a sprained ankle depends on the severity of the damage. Although you may just need proper rest and pain medications to heal, it is important to have the sprain looked at by a professional to determine the severity and appropriate treatment.
After an ankle sprain or strain, proper rehabilitation is required to strengthen the muscles around the ankle and rehabilitate the tissues within the ankle that affect your balance. Also, physical therapy, medications, and bracing can help treat chronic ankle instability. Failure to do so may result in repeated ankle sprains or strains, and possibly surgery.