Chicago Podiatrists Explain Hip Abduction Weakness & Lateral Ankle Instability

5-Star rated Chicago podiatrists realize that one of the most common joints injured in both daily and active life styles is that of the ankle. Inversion-type sprains or lateral ankle sprains compose a majority of these injuries (70% to 85%) (1). This may be common knowledge for most however, what is surprising is the recurrence rate of these injuries. It has been shown that 80% of ankle sprains recur (2). The question is why?

Research has shown that a big component of ankle stability is related to hip stability (4-6). In other words, control at the ankle can be affected by musculature strength higher up the chain and postural deficits. One such pelvic stabilizing musculature is that of the gluteus medius.

The gluteus medius is often referred to as your hip abductor (this is when your leg moves out to the side away from your body) but, it is also a very important pelvic stabilizer affecting postural positioning and stability in the kinematic chain (hip, knee and ankle joints). Thus, weakness in this muscle can produce loss of stability throughout the lower extremity attributing to repetitive ankle injury (7). What is even more interesting is that following an ankle injury, postural stability and muscle recruitment patterns in the ankle and hip are distorted (3,5,6). So, repetitive ankle sprains can continuously lead to further weakness within ankle and hip stabilizing musculature leaving you more prone to injury of the ankle.

Ways your Chicago Podiatrists can help

Strengthening of postural stabilizing and ankle musculature is crucial to help regain ankle control. Focus should be placed on not only ankle stabilizing musculature but, also on hip abductor (gluteus medius), hip extensor (gluteus maximus and hamstring) and core musculature to regain control of the kinetic chain.

Chicago podiatrists recommend the following tips to help strengthen Core and Lower Extremity:

  • Learn to engage your transverse abdominus musculature when performing your exercise routine

                  Tip on how to engage:  think about pulling your navel towards your spine and contracting your lower        abdomen without holding your breath.

  • Perform Pilates mat exercises such as bridges, clams, planks, sideling leg lifts, and donkey kicks while engaging your transverse abdominus musculature.
  • Progress your exercise routine on a stability ball to challenge the core and hips.
  • Progress hip strengthening activities in standing to side step walks and hip dips.
  • Perform squats and progress to single leg squats for lower extremity strengthening.
  • Stretching of lower extremity musculature is also important (focus on hamstrings, gluteals, calf and quadriceps muscles).

Please do not perform the above listed exercises if you have recently sustained an injury or if you are in pain. If you have been suffering from persistent ankle sprains and instability, consider scheduling an appointment with one of our highly qualified DPMs at the Weil Foot & Ankle Institute.

  1. Wolfe MW, Uhl TL, Mattacola CG, McCluskey LC. Management of ankle sprains. Am Fam Physician. 2001;63:93–104
  2. Smith RW, Reischl SF. Treatment of ankle sprains in young athletes. Am J Sports Med. 1986;14:465–471.
  3. Lentell G, Baas B, Lopez D, McGuire L, Sarrels M, Snyder P. The contributions of proprioceptive deficits, muscle function, and anatomic laxity to functional instability of the ankle. J Orthop Sport Phys Ther. 1995;21: 206–215.  
  4. MacKinnon CD, Winter DA. Control of whole body balance in the frontal plane during human walking. J Biomech. 1993;26:633–644.
  5. Beckman SM, Buchanan TS. Ankle inversion injury and hypermobility: effect on hip and ankle muscle electromyography onset latency. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1995;76:1138–1140.
  6. Sadeghi H, Sadeghi S, Prince F, Allard P, Labelle H, Vaughan C. Functional roles of ankle and hip sagittal muscle moments in able-bodied gait. Clin Biomech (Bristol, Avon). 2001;16:688–695.
  7. Friel K, McLean N, Myers C, Caceres M. Ipsiliteral Hip Abductor Weakness After Inversion Ankle Sprain. Journal of Athletic Training. 2006; 41:74-78
Award-Winning Chicago
Area Podiatrists
Award-Winning Chicago
Area Podiatrists


  • "I urge anyone in need of bunion surgery to see Dr Lowell Weil. My life is forever changed and I am so grateful! Oh and my feet are now PRETTY! Thank you again!"

    - Sky N.
    best chicago podiatrists
  • "Dr. Weil Jr. and the Staff at the Libertyville Office are the best. I have been with Weil foot and Ankle for nine years and Dr. Weil Jr. has taken care of all my foot problems. He is the best."

    - Maureen M.
    best chicago podiatrists
  • “Dr. Weil Jr. and the Staff at the Libertyville Office are the best. I had joint fusion surgery on July 31, 2014 and everyone there was great with all my questions. "

    - Maureen M. – Joint Fusion
    best chicago podiatrists
  • “I was super nervous about the surgery but all the staff made me feel welcome and safe, before my surgery, I remember everything was clean, and everybody were professional.”

    - Michelle K. – Toe Surgery
    best chicago podiatrists
  • “Dr. David O’Brian and his staff in Roselle are the best! My entire family has seen Dr. O’Brian for over 10 years. "

    - Mary Pat H. – Foot Pain
    best chicago podiatrists
  • “Dr. Cernak, Thank you for being such an amazing DOCTOR! The way you care for us can’t be matched by anyone! (and hasn’t!) Your knowledge is incredible too.”

    - Sara R.
    best chicago podiatrists
  • "I urge anyone in need of bunion surgery to see Dr Lowell Weil. My life is forever changed and I am so grateful! Oh and my feet are now PRETTY! Thank you again!"

    - Sky N.
    best chicago podiatrists
  • "Dr. Weil Jr. and the Staff at the Libertyville Office are the best. I have been with Weil foot and Ankle for nine years and Dr. Weil Jr. has taken care of all my foot problems. He is the best."

    - Maureen M.
    best chicago podiatrists
  • “Dr. Weil Jr. and the Staff at the Libertyville Office are the best. I had joint fusion surgery on July 31, 2014 and everyone there was great with all my questions. "

    - Maureen M. – Joint Fusion
    best chicago podiatrists
  • “I was super nervous about the surgery but all the staff made me feel welcome and safe, before my surgery, I remember everything was clean, and everybody were professional.”

    - Michelle K. – Toe Surgery
    best chicago podiatrists
  • “Dr. David O’Brian and his staff in Roselle are the best! My entire family has seen Dr. O’Brian for over 10 years. "

    - Mary Pat H. – Foot Pain
    best chicago podiatrists
  • “Dr. Cernak, Thank you for being such an amazing DOCTOR! The way you care for us can’t be matched by anyone! (and hasn’t!) Your knowledge is incredible too.”

    - Sara R.
    best chicago podiatrists
  • "I urge anyone in need of bunion surgery to see Dr Lowell Weil. My life is forever changed and I am so grateful! Oh and my feet are now PRETTY! Thank you again!"

    - Sky N.
    best chicago podiatrists
  • "Dr. Weil Jr. and the Staff at the Libertyville Office are the best. I have been with Weil foot and Ankle for nine years and Dr. Weil Jr. has taken care of all my foot problems. He is the best."

    - Maureen M.
    best chicago podiatrists
  • “Dr. Weil Jr. and the Staff at the Libertyville Office are the best. I had joint fusion surgery on July 31, 2014 and everyone there was great with all my questions. "

    - Maureen M. – Joint Fusion
    best chicago podiatrists
  • “I was super nervous about the surgery but all the staff made me feel welcome and safe, before my surgery, I remember everything was clean, and everybody were professional.”

    - Michelle K. – Toe Surgery
    best chicago podiatrists
  • “Dr. David O’Brian and his staff in Roselle are the best! My entire family has seen Dr. O’Brian for over 10 years. "

    - Mary Pat H. – Foot Pain
    best chicago podiatrists
  • “Dr. Cernak, Thank you for being such an amazing DOCTOR! The way you care for us can’t be matched by anyone! (and hasn’t!) Your knowledge is incredible too.”

    - Sara R.
    best chicago podiatrists
*The reviews listed are from actual patients of Weil Foot & Ankle Institute. Individual results may vary. Reviews are not claimed to represent results for everyone.
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The Chicago, IL, podiatrists of Weil Foot & Ankle Institute treat all medical and surgical foot and ankle conditions. Our licensed Chicago podiatrists have helped over 200,000+ patients find relief for their foot pain, heel pain and ankle pain, and we can help you too! Our Chicago podiatrists and Chicago foot doctors can help treat all foot and ankle conditions, including, bunions, claw toe, corns, calluses, foot pain, hammertoes, heel pain, ingrown toenails, neuromas, toenail fungus and sports related foot and ankle injuries.
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