Chronic Ankle Instability: A Winter Risk

Walking in a winter wonderland is not an enjoyable activity if you suffer from Chronic Ankle Instability. Patients who have this condition find their ankles frequently give way and twist, sometimes even just when standing. Icy walkways and slippery pavement mean an increase in office visits to Great Neck Family Foot Care for patients who have chronic ankle instability.


Chronic ankle instability is usually the result of an ankle sprain or sprains that did not heal fully or that were not rehabilitated adequately. An ankle sprain occurs when the ligaments of the ankle are stretched beyond their normal range or even torn. Treatment needs to begin promptly and muscles around the ankle need to be strengthened in order to repair connective tissues. If this does not happen, balance is affected and repeated ankle sprains are likely. With each sprain, the ligaments are further stretched and weakened, leading to more ankle problems. Patients with chronic ankle instability experience frequent pain, tenderness and swelling in the ankle in addition to the ankle being weak.

Treating and Protecting Your Ankles

One of our board certified foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Alec Hochstein or Dr. Diana Gagliano, will conduct a complete examination of your ankle and ask about previous sprains, strains and ankle injuries. Digital x-rays (which can be done right in our Great Neck office) may be ordered for a more complete picture of the ankle. Treatment for chronic ankle instability may include bracing the ankle for support and physical therapy to strengthen the ankle and increase balance and range of motion.

Prevent further damage to a weakened ankle this season by:

  • Wearing shoes that have good ankle support and help keep the ankle from twisting
  • Choosing boots and other winter footwear that have good tread to prevent slipping
  • Not carrying so many packages at once that you can’t see the pavement where you are walking
  • Changing into dressy shoes (avoiding spiky heels over 2-inches high) when you arrive at the party instead of wearing them on potentially icy, slippery pavement

If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your ankles, contact our office at 516-482-5999 to make an appointment. Remember, if the pain is too severe and you (or a loved one) are unable to leave the home, we can come to you with a home visit.