Ankle Instability

This page will provide you with information about ankle instability. For further details, please speak to your consultant.

What is ankle instability?

Ankle instability is when the ankle feels as if it is ‘giving way’ and can occur when walking, running, or standing.

People suffering from ankle instability may complain of tenderness, pain, discomfort and swelling. The ankle may also turn inward and the joint may feel unstable when walking over uneven terrain.

What causes ankle instability?

The condition is common among people who have previously sprained their ankle.  When the ankle is sprained, some of the ligaments stretch, which results in fibres being torn. Without the correct treatment, the ankle risks becoming sprained again. If the ankle is repeatedly sprained, the ligaments become increasingly stretched and weak, resulting in instability.


A healthcare professional will examine your ankle to look for signs of swelling and instability. You may need to have a further CT, X-ray, or MRI scan.


Your healthcare professional may suggest rehabilitation through physiotherapy or orthotics. You will be given exercises that will aim to strengthen the ankle, improve range of motion and balance, and retrain the muscles.

Some patients may also be prescribed an ankle brace to prevent the ankle from turning. Wearing a brace also reduces the chance of experiencing further spraining.

In more severe cases, your doctor may recommend surgery. This will typically involve the reconstruction or repair of the torn or stretched ligaments. The type of surgery will be based on the severity of your individual case.


This page is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.