Dr. Kathren D. McCarty, former chief resident of the Orthopedics Dept./Podiatry division at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio is an expert at assisting patents with an ankle instability in San Antonio, TX. Prior to joining Sports Occupational & Knee Surgery in 2008, she performed over 2000 podiatry procedures. As a respected and experienced podiatrist that can effectively diagnose and treat your needs whether it is ankle and joint pain, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, toenail fungus or other foot and ankle ailments; Dr. McCarty strives to deliver quality podiatry care to informed patients in our comfortable and convenient offices.
Primary symptoms of ankle instability is pain following a twist or injury, swelling, and bruising. Treatment includes resting and elevating the ankle and applying ice to reduce swelling. Compressive bandages also may be used to immobilize and support the injury during healing. Serious ankle instability, particularly among competitive athletes, may require surgery to repair and tighten the damaged ligaments.
Dr. Kathren McCarty combines knowledgeable and honest care with the most advanced technology in the Greater San Antonio region to treat patients with an ankle Instability in San Antonio, TX. Healthy, happy feet are only a click or call away. Call Dr. Kathren McCarty at Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery today for a consultation appointment; (210) 696-9000
“Dr Kathren McCarty is absolutely wonderful. Turned a chronic foot condition into something wonderful through her expertise and precise surgery. Highly recommend!”
How common is chronic ankle instability?
Ankle sprains are common athletic injuries. In the U.S. it’s estimated that over two million lateral ankle sprains occur each year. Of those acute ankle sprain patients, about 20 percent develop chronic ankle instability.
Indications That You Have Ankle Instability
The bones of the ankle (tibia, fibula and talus) are held in correct alignment by strong bands of collagen tissue (ligaments) and muscles attach to the bones of the foot moving the ankle and adding stability to the joint. A sudden twisting injury to the foot (usually with the sole pointing inwards – inversion injury) may stretch the ligament fibers. This may cause pain, swelling and bruising. Most people are able to walk even with a limp.
Further force may cause the ligament to rupture or for a flake of bone to be pulled from where the ligament attaches It is not usually possible to put any weight on the ankle following such injuries. Further force may cause fracture of the bones surrounding the ankle and dislocation of the joint.
How does Dr. McCarty diagnose chronic ankle instability?
When evaluating your condition, Dr. McCarty will first discuss with you any past ankle injuries and their subsequent treatment. Did you have any feeling of ongoing instability, or did you return to full function?
Then she’ll examine your ankle, checking for tender areas, signs of swelling, and instability. By moving the joint, she’ll get a picture for what’s going on. She is getting a sense if your ankle joint is moving beyond the normal physiological range. It’s likely that some imaging studies (x-rays or MRIs) will be necessary. MRIs are especially effective as they provide superior soft tissue contrast resolution.
How long does treatment for ankle instability usually take?
Most ankle sprains will heal in from 2 to 12 weeks, but when dealing with chronic ankle instability, treatment times vary widely depending upon the course of treatment Dr. McCarty uses. For instance, physical therapy to strengthen the muscles of the outer ankle can take a few weeks, but in an athlete who already has good strength in those muscles, this may not be effective.
Bracing may be effective, and it will only usually be necessary for up to a few weeks.
Anti-inflammatory medications can reduce the pain and inflammation and allow the ankle to begin proper healing.
If Dr. McCarty needs to perform surgery to repair or reconstruct the lateral ligaments, this can take up to 12 weeks or longer to fully recover.
Treatment for Ankle Instability
The majority of simple sprains recover fully within a few days with “PRICE” – Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. If you are unable to put weight through the ankle/foot, you should be evaluated by a foot & ankle specialist. I have had so many patients come into the office surprised by the severity of the ligament damage or even fracture. Sprains that show no signs of improvement of pain by 3 months or are painful 6 months after injury may require further investigation, physical therapy and possibly an arthroscopy. Sometimes the ankle does not stabilize even after intensive physical therapy. If the ankle continues to feel unstable with repeated sprains then it may be necessary to perform surgery to reconstruct the lateral ligaments.
Recovery from lateral ankle stabilizing surgery usually requires 6 -12 weeks depending on the individual.
The professional staff at Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery in San Antonio, Texas along with Dr. McCarty, will evaluate your personal injury and will follow you through to your full recovery, insuring your health and prevention of future injury.
How long will it take to recover from a sprained ankle?
The time it takes to recover from a sprained ankle and its subsequent instability vary with each patient. As mentioned above, a normal ankle sprain should heal fully within 12 weeks. But if damage is more severe, such as in a grade 3 sprain, Dr. McCarty will need to use more involved treatment, including possible surgery.
Recovery is highly variable, but you should expect anywhere from 3 to 6 months of time before you’re back using your ankle in the ways you were prior to your injury. You need to have patience in these cases, as rushing back before full healing can cause permanent damage and can lead to future arthritis.
Can my ankle instability heal on its own?
Most ankle sprains will heal with PRICE therapy, as described above. Healing can take anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks. The key sign that your ankle has recovered from its sprain is the capacity to put weight on the ankle with confidence. You should be able to use the ankle without any pain and without a sense that the ankle could give way or is otherwise weak.
Whether or not your ankle will heal is a question of whether discreet damage has occurred to the interior bones, cartilage, and ligaments of the foot at its junction with the tibia and fibula. If your ankle has this kind of damage, which could be hidden from view on x-rays due to fluid accumulation or scar tissue, your instability could be defined as chronic.
What happens if I wait it out and don’t treat my ankle instability?
A sprained ankle seems innocuous enough; we’ve all had one at some point in our life. But if left untreated, issues with instability can evolve into much larger problems. For instance, if torn ligaments are left to heal on their own, they can fuse together haphazardly, forming weak, inflexible scar tissue. Now your ankle will always feel as if it could give out with any outward pressure.
By allowing this instability to remain, you’re also elevating the odds of developing these conditions:
- Degenerative changes in your ankle joint
- Arthritis in the ankle
- Chronic inflammation
While initially, a sprain that isn’t fully debilitating doesn’t merit a visit to see Dr. McCarty at Sports, Occupational, and Knee Surgery, if your symptoms don’t improve within a day or two, it’s time to come see her to get your ankle on the road to healing instead of developing chronic instability.
Will I be disabled after ankle surgery?
After surgery with Dr. McCarty to repair ligaments or other problems with your ankle, you’ll need to avoid walking on your foot for at least six weeks. But you won’t be limited to bed. You’ll be able to use crutches, knee scooters, or a wheelchair to get around. You’ll want to rest and elevate your operated foot and ankle as much as possible, but you’ll still be mobile.
From there, you’ll transition to walking in a walking boot. This will allow you to bear weight on the foot without damaging it.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
A healthy and happy body are only a click or call away. Call Sports, Occupational and Knee Surgery today for an ankle instablility relief appointment at (210) 696-9000 at either our San Antonio or Shertz location.