Sometimes the ankle can feel wobbly, unstable and like it “gives way”—even while standing still. When this happens repeatedly, the condition is called ankle instability. Keep reading to find out who is most likely to be affected, and how to recover from it.

Causes & Triggers

  • Inadequately healed or rehabilitated ankle sprain/s
  • Repeated turning or twisting of the ankle
  • Stretched or torn ligaments
  • Weak or unstable ankle muscles

Signs & Symptoms

  • Discomfort
  • Instability during activities or while standing
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Wobbly feeling

Tips & Treatments

  • Chronic instability often affects athletes because they receive repeated ankle sprains during practice or play.
  • Non-athletes also can be affected, including people who twist their ankle by walking on an uneven surface.
  • X-rays and MRIs may be helpful in diagnosing the condition.
  • Physical therapy can help improve balance and stability by retraining and strengthening the muscles surrounding the ankle and the tissues within.
  • Wearing an ankle brace can provide ankle support and prevent additional sprains.
  • Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, or prescription NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Ligament repair surgery may be required.