Weak ankles have two distinct sensations. Instability of your feet and increased lateral pressure under your feet. If you have weak ankles you generally favor the lateral aspect of your feet. Typically this also contributes to your feet and legs feeling tired at the end of the day. The real pain associated with weak ankles comes every time you roll or twist your ankle. In the worst cases, inflammation and swelling causes continuous pain which needs immobilization, and often professional attention. A mild sprain may be less painful, but if repeated frequently may cause significant ligament damage.
Common Causes • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Typically, a person with weak ankles is a supinator. Unless there is a structural reason, a supinator is a hyperpronator in disguise. The supination is a subconscious muscular overcompensation to avoid the discomfort of the ankles rolling inward. The operative word is overcompensation. The overcompensation causes the feet and ankles to become unstable and to easily roll out when stepping off a sidewalk, hiking on uneven terrain or participating in sports.
Weak ankles frequently roll out because of a supinated heel strike (heel leaning out).
How to eliminate the pain
In this case, eliminating pain usually means healing from an injury. Immobilization, and ice to reduce the swelling my be necessary. If you find that you favor the outside of your feet, you most likely compensate for hyperpronation. Eliminating weak ankles means eliminating the overcompensation which requires addressing the root cause - hyperpronation.
If you hyperpronate, your arches drop from non-weight bearing (sitting with your feet on the ground) to weight bearing (standing). When your arches drop, the ankle rolls in and your heel leans in (evert) as illustrated in the picture. Even a small amount of hyperpronation often causes a subconscious compensation pattern (supination) and weakened ankles.