Ankle instability

Last evidence check May 2014

Principal authors Jim Barrie, Rebecca Hope and Jo Lishman

Ankle ligament injuries are common:

Many ankle injuries occur in young people during sports: the mean age in Holmer’s series was 24y and nearly half were sports-related. Smith and Reischl (1986) found that half of a series of 84 college basketball players had chronic ankle injuries.

Some of those who suffer a sprained ankle develop recurring complaints. Verhagen et al (1995) followed up 577 patients treated by taping or reconstruction for 6.5 years. 18% had pain and about 40% had recurrent sprains or feelings of instability. Munk et al (1995) studied 79 patients 9-13 years after ankle sprains treated by various methods: 20% had persistent instability and 5% had pain.

Most patients can be managed non-surgically. For those who require surgery, much of this can be done arthroscopically.