Q.I seem to have very weak ankles. All I have to do is walk across the yard, and if there is a stone or unlevel ground, my ankle turns. Is there any exercise I can do or ankle support I can wear?

A.Ankle sprains and instability of the ankle joint are two very common problems for which patients come to an orthopedic surgeon. There are several major ligaments around the ankle. Among them, a broad band of tissue known as the deltoid ligament lies on the inner side of the ankle.

On the outside of the ankle is a group of ligaments known as the lateral ligament complex, which consists of the anterior talofibular ligament, calcaneal fibular ligament and posterior talofibular ligament.

These ligaments on the outside are the ones most commonly injured in a sprained ankle. When someone twists an ankle, the ankle usually turns inward, thereby stretching or tearing these ligaments. Ankle sprains are graded into three separate categories.

A Grade I sprain essentially involves a stretch of the ligaments, a Grade II sprain involves partial tearing, and Grade III involves a complete tear. An ankle sprain often involves a combination of two grades.

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