Lateral ankle instability can result from an ankle sprain where the anterior talofibular ligament and sometimes the calcaneofibular ligament do not heal completely. Lateral ankle instability often describes a chronic condition where these ligaments are unstable. Symptoms of giving way with normal walking or walking on uneven surfaces are common in these athletes.

Ankle instability after an ankle sprain

The sports medicine physician or foot and ankle surgeon can usually make the diagnosis by physical exam. Stress tests of the specific lateral ankle ligaments can demonstrate laxity of these ligaments and recreate the symptoms. X-rays and MRIs to evaluate the status of the ligaments can be necessary.

Surgery and rehab for ankle instability

Treatment initially focuses on rehabilitation, strengthening of the surrounding muscles of the ankle, and functional activities. Bracing and orthotics can be tried with some success. If nonsurgical treatments do not help, surgery to repair or reconstruct the lateral ankle ligaments can be necessary. Return to sports can be lengthy, especially if surgery is necessary.

Ankle instability
Lateral ankle sprains often injure the ATFL (white arrow) or the CFL (yellow arrow).

I want to help you! Please take a few seconds to share the biggest challenge or struggle you’re facing with your injury! Click here!

Recommended Products and Resources
Click here to go to Dr. David Geier’s Amazon Influencer store!
Due to a large number of questions I have received over the years asking about products for health, injuries, performance, and other areas of sports, exercise, work and life, I have created an Amazon Influencer page. While this information and these products are not intended to treat any specific injury or illness you have, they are products I use personally, have used or have tried, or I have recommended to others. THE SITE MAY OFFER HEALTH, FITNESS, NUTRITIONAL AND OTHER SUCH INFORMATION, BUT SUCH INFORMATION IS DESIGNED FOR EDUCATIONAL AND INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THE CONTENT DOES NOT AND IS NOT INTENDED TO CONVEY MEDICAL ADVICE AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PRACTICE OF MEDICINE. YOU SHOULD NOT RELY ON THIS INFORMATION AS A SUBSTITUTE FOR, NOR DOES IT REPLACE, PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, DIAGNOSIS, OR TREATMENT. THE SITE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ACTIONS OR INACTION ON A USER’S PART BASED ON THE INFORMATION THAT IS PRESENTED ON THE SITE. Please note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.