Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Ankle FAQ

Question:

My ankle keeps going out from underneath me when I'm walking. I had an X-ray and everything was normal. The doctor says I have "functional ankle instability." What does that mean?

Answer:

Functional ankle instability is a condition that occurs most often after an ankle sprain. Like you, the patient describes a sense that the ankle is going to give out from underneath him or her. Often that's exactly what does happen.

X-rays and ligament testing are normal. That means there are no fractures and the ligaments aren't loose or "lax."

A recent study of electrical activity of the peroneus longus muscle in the lower leg and ankle may offer some clues. It seems the muscle is slow in responding to changes in the foot position after an ankle sprain. This decreased activity may be part of what's causing the ankle instability.

Valter Santilli, MD, et al. Peroneus Longus Muscle Activation Pattern During Gait Cycle in Athletes Affected by Functional Ankle Instability. In American Journal of Sports Medicine. August 2005. Vol. 33. No. 8. Pp. 1183-1187.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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