Most commonly unstable ankle starts after an episode of injury, usually an ankle sprain. The main question is whether the ankle ligaments are slack and the ankle therefore mechanically unstable. This can be diagnosed by comparing how stable the injured ankle is compared with the other ankle.

It is possible that the ligaments may be mechanically normal but the ankle nevertheless feels unstable. This is called functional instability because the ankle joint cannot be demonstrated to be unstable by examination.

There are various causes for unstable ankle, either originating from inside or outside of the ankle joint. Within the joint inflamed soft tissue resulting from the injury known as synovitis or an injury to the joint lining may lead to pain / reflex spasm in certain positions of the foot. An injury outside the ankle joint to the peroneal tendons can also be responsible.


Ankle physiotherapy that concentrates on soft tissue massage, a range of exercises and peroneal muscle strengthening may be helpful. However, if instability continues despite ankle physiotherapy treatment the potential need for surgery is indicated.

The Procedure

The aim of the ankle surgery is to restore the length of the elongated ligaments and is carried out, through a small incision that is approximately 2cm long.

Following Treatment

You will wear an ankle brace for the first six weeks following ankle surgery and physiotherapy on the affected area commences two weeks post-operatively.

For more information on treatments for unstable ankle at New Victoria Hospital, please call us on 020 8949 9020 or use our online contact form.

Consultants and Clinic Times

Mr Pal. Ramesh

MBBS MCh(Orth) FRCS(Glasg.) FRCS(Orth)
Orthopaedics, Foot & Ankle Surgery
Profile and clinic times

Mr Tim Sinnett

MBBS (AICSM), MA (Cantab), FRCS (Tr & Orth)
Orthopaedics, Foot & Ankle Surgery
Profile and clinic times
The Victoria Foundation
NJR accreditation Quality Data Provider for New Victoria Hospital
JAG accreditation
Freedom to Speak Up scheme
Care Quality Commission Good Rating
QMS logo
ISO 9001 logo