Ankle sprains are the most common recurrent injury of the lower extremity, and up to 40% go to develop chronic symptoms. Approximately 20% of individuals with acute ankle sprains develop chronic ankle instability.
It is thought that after suffering an ankle sprain, there is an impairment of proprioception, which then leads to recurrent episodes. The most common type of ankle sprain involves inversion and adduction, which stretches the soft tissues on the outside of the joint. The ligaments undergo microscopic tears and lose their supporting properties. The muscles and tendons can also be damaged, affecting the muscle control of the joint. Acute ankle sprains usually lead to swelling, pain, weakness and instability.
It is important to decipher whether the lateral ankle instability is functional or mechanical.
# Functional instability:- is chronic in nature and described by patients as 'giving way', and will have notable proprioceptive deficits.
# Mechanical instability:- is when there is excessive movement at the ankle joint.
Conservative management will often entail neuromuscular training and bracing. If this fails, then surgical intervention may be required, and often has good outcomes to begin rehabilitation to optimal function.