To fix chronically unstable ankles, you need to look beyond the ankle joint and ligaments. Weak ankles are usually everything to do with the muscles that attach there - essentially your calf muscles and your toe muscles, but potentially also your hip muscles - as well as the alignment of your joints. If your hip/knee/ankle joints are misaligned, and they are subjected to repetitive movements, they may well become overloaded and weaken as a result.
Consider a weak ankle joint as a signal that it is time to restore some balance in your body!
1) Release tight muscles with massage, trigger point therapy and other soft tissue techniques, as well as gentle stretching
2) Learn correct joint positioning, to avoid overloading
3) Mobilise the joint, to avoid stiffness
4) Strengthen the weaker muscles with small increases in loads so the tissues can adapt without stress
5) Learn to walk (and run) using hip extension
Think of your muscles as the brakes of your joints and the ligaments as the seat belts. Fix the brakes first! Bring some stability back. The ligaments will be the last thing to go. They are the joint's safety net.
To get your body to be able to cope with whatever demands you put on it, you really need to look at the whole picture, not just spot treat the part that is causing trouble as there is often more than one muscle involved. The body will first try to compensate for weaknesses in certain muscles (toe muscles, for example) by recruiting the bigger muscles (calf muscles), which then overwork and get tight and cannot do their jobs. An injury rarely happens without a warning sign such as a minor niggle.
Simply relying on strapping or taping a weak ankle and then running and jumping on it will not prevent injury. It will only delay it. Immobilising + overloading = muscle atrophy = further risk of injury or chronic weakness. Rest and mobilisation followed by progressive loading within a pain-free range of motion is a much safer way to deal with a weak joint.
Please ask for further, more targeted advice if you need it, or book an appointment for massage and/or restorative exercise.
Mum of 4, nature lover, passionate about the power of human movement.