It's probably happened to you, or a loved one, or a friend. Whether it was because of a single misstep or because of a game day maneuver, we've experienced ankle injuries in some capacity. Most of the time, these injuries can be overcome with rest and care - but what happens when they can’t? 

The design of the ankle joint is complicated, featuring a mixture of bones, ligaments, and tendons. And should any of these tissues fail to heal correctly following an injury, the ankle may not be able to function as it should. In these cases, patients may feel as if they do not have the support they need while walking, i.e. that their ankle is "giving out".

That’s where we can help. Established in 2004, Pittsburgh Foot and Hand Center is a local resource and care center for those affected by ankle instability. Since 1987, Dr. Bowman has provided the latest in both nonsurgical and surgical orthopaedic treatment to those affected by joint disorders. From our cutting-edge electronic medical records to our use of the latest in imaging technology, our staff process and training puts the focus on providing consistent care to you that is 100% based on your symptoms and needs. If you are struggling with on your feet, and this sounds like the care that you need, you're invited to contact us online or at (724) 933-3300. We look forward to working with you and helping you find relief!

 

FAQs on Ankle Instability:

What is Ankle Instability?

"Ankle Instability" refers to a medical condition that can develop following an initial injury to the ankle. In ankle instability, one of the many parts of the ankle - in most cases, a ligament - fails to heal correctly from an initial trauma. The result is a loss of full function in the ankle, which can a) leave an individual feeling as if their ankle will "give out" any time, and b) leave the afflicted person at a higher risk of an additional ankle injury.

What are Common Symptoms of Ankle Instability? 

The most common symptom of this condition is feeling as if the ankle may give way at any moment. Uneven surfaces and certain shoes are likely to enhance this feeling. Sometimes this instability is accompanied by pain, tenderness, stiffness, and/or swelling.

How is Ankle Instability Diagnosed?

To diagnose ankle instability, an orthopaedic doctor will conduct a physical examination and check for mechanical instability - that is, the presence of motion beyond what is normally seen in the ankle. X-rays, as well as an assessment of a patient's gait, can also confirm a diagnosis.

How is Ankle Instability Treated?

Depending on the severity of the diagnosis, your doctor may recommend at-home treatments after your initial exam. These can include rest, cold compress therapy, compression via braces and wraps, and at-home exercises meant to strengthen the affected area. 

If these prescribed actions do not work, or the damage is deemed severe, your doctor may suggest surgery to repair the injured part of the ankle. The most common surgical options for ankle instability are anatomic reconstruction (which repairs the stretched or torn ligaments) and peroneal substitution ligament reconstruction (where the damaged ligament is removed and replaced with another piece of tendon).

At the Pittsburgh Foot and Hand Center, Dr. Bowman also offers a procedure known as thermal lateral ligament reconstruction. This procedure was developed by Dr. Bowman himself, and has been a part of his patient’s care and treatment options for the past twenty years. (To Dr. Bowman - As part of the review process, please provide a sentence or two explaining this procedure - that way we can include the information on your website.)

What Can I Expect at Pittsburgh Foot & Hand Center?

The Pittsburgh Foot and Hand Center will initially provide an exam and prescribe the applicable lifestyle changes needed to try and provide relief from ankle instability. Where necessary, we can also prepare patients for a specific type of surgery that will best address the nature of their condition. 

Because every patient is different, specific questions about any diagnosis or surgery should always be discussed in-depth with your medical and/or surgical teams. That’s why we invite you to bring all of your questions to us during your visits, as well as by phone afterward if needed. We will gladly provide the information you need to make the right decision for your health needs.

In addition to Dr. Bowman’s expertise, our practice’s partnerships provide patients with the access they may need to additional care in the form of physical therapists, occupational therapists, and orthotists. Dr. Bowman - and, when needed, these partners - will constantly strive to provide a consistent and high level of nonoperative and postoperative care.