Our Top Tips to Avoid Chronic Instability After a Severe Ankle Sprain

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Ankle sprains happen all the time. One small misstep can leave you hobbled. Fortunately, many ankle sprains heal on their own.

Unfortunately, one sprain heightens your likelihood of a future one. If the tendons, ligaments, and muscles that support your ankle don’t heal properly, you have a risk for chronic ankle instability. That means your ankle is more likely to give way, making you more likely to get another sprain. 

Fortunately, as a specialist in foot and ankle injuries, William T. DeCarbo, DPM, FACFAS, has expertise helping patients take proactive measures to support their ankle and prevent chronic ankle instability. If you’ve sustained a severe ankle sprain, visit him at Greater Pittsburgh Foot & Ankle Center in Wexford, Pennsylvania, for the personalized care you need.

Dr. DeCarbo tailors an ankle care plan to you, but it may include:

Shoe modifications

In the months following your ankle sprain, you need to ensure you don’t stress the tendons, muscles, and ligaments there. You want to enable them to fully heal so they can provide your ankle the support it needs. As a result, you likely want to steer clear of platform and high-heel shoes, along with those that don’t solidly secure to your foot (e.g., flip flops). 

If you don’t, even a tiny misstep can mean your ankle has to strain to prevent a roll. And that can set your healing back and cause lasting problems with chronic ankle instability. 


Because the goal is to support the network that supports your ankle, Dr. DeCarbo often recommends specific strengthening and stretching exercises. He may also pair them with exercises that improve your balance. That way, you’re less likely to trip or slip, leading to another ankle issue. 

With the right ankle exercises, you can strengthen your ankle — defending against instability — while also reducing the likelihood that you roll it again in the future. 


If your ankle sprain was particularly severe, you might benefit from bracing the ankle for a period of time. This prevents you from inadvertently taxing the ankle, giving your muscles, ligaments, and tendons their best shot at fully healing — and potentially helping them to heal more quickly. 

Dr. DeCarbo tailors your chronic ankle instability prevention plan to you. A lot hinges on the severity of your sprain and how many sprains you’ve sustained in the past. With an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI, he can get a clear look at what’s going on in your ankle to develop the most effective path forward possible.

To get care tailored to your ankle’s unique needs and your specific lifestyle, call our office or book your appointment online.