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Ankle Arthroscopy

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Ankle pain, weakness, and mobility issues can have a significant impact on your well-being. Ankle conditions often limit your ability to walk, play recreational activities, participate in sports, and complete your daily work. Whether the cause of the problem is known or not yet identified, ankle arthroscopy can be used to diagnose and often treat the concern. Our board certified orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeons are extensively trained in this leading technique, which uses a special type of camera (arthroscope) to view the ankle bones, muscles, ligaments, and other structures. The arthroscope is inserted through a small incision and projects images onto a screen the surgeon can use to guide his procedure. The instruments are inserted through one or more separate small incisions to perform the treatment.

Considered a minimally invasive technique, arthroscopic surgery may be able to help you regain strength and comfort again. Contact us today if you would like to learn more about this option and whether it is right for you.

Benefits of Ankle Arthroscopy

Arthroscopic surgery is increasingly the go-to technique to pinpoint joint and musculoskeletal problems and address them. Some of the benefits of ankle arthroscopy include:

  • Reduced trauma to surrounding tissues
  • Greater precision in diagnosis
  • Expedited healing and recovery
  • Less scarring
  • Decreased risk of complications
  • Diminished swelling and discomfort post-surgery

Arthroscopic techniques offer a minimally invasive way to identify a wide range of issues. Furthermore, this approach can also be used to treat the condition(s) once the diagnosis is confirmed. Whether the surgery is exploratory or designed to correct, some of the issues that ankle arthroscopy can help with are:

  • Arthritis
  • Fractures
  • Instability
  • Arthrofibrosis (scar tissue)
  • Infection
  • Loose bodies
  • Cartilage and ligament injuries
  • Osteochondral defect (OCD)
  • Synovitis
  • Unexplained symptoms

Who Is a Good Candidate for Ankle Arthroscopy?

Your care, comfort, and safety are our highest priorities, and our surgeons will carefully review your concerns and medical history before considering a surgical procedure like ankle arthroscopy. Certain conditions will preclude you from arthroscopic surgery, including some active infections, particular types of severe arthritis, and other potential issues. It’s also important to have reasonable expectations of what can be achieved with this treatment, and to understand what will be expected during the recovery process.

Ankle Arthroscopy Procedure

Your surgeon will discuss the type of anesthesia being used for your procedure, so you are prepared in advance. At least two incisions will be made on the ankle, one for the arthroscope and at least one more for the instruments the surgeon will use. If your condition is effectively diagnosed and can be treated in the same procedure, the surgeon will likely go ahead and address the concern. This possibility will be discussed with you prior to the operation, and the technique used to correct the problem will depend on your unique situation. Once finished, the incisions will be closed with sutures and a bandage will be placed. A splint or boot is also commonly used to immobilize the ankle and assist in healing.

Recovery Following Ankle Arthroscopy

Arthroscopic surgery can take different amounts of time depending on how complex your treatment is. Most procedures will be outpatient operations, which means you should be able to return home the same day. You will experience some bruising and swelling, and minor discomfort is to be expected. Pain, however, is unwanted and can be managed with prescription medication as needed. Physical therapy is an important part of almost all patients’ programs, and our skilled therapists will help you strengthen your ankle muscles and return to comfortable movement. You can begin driving when you can place your full weight on the ankle and are no longer on pain medication. Most individuals are out of work for one to two weeks, although this is just an estimate and may differ from person to person.

Bothered by ankle pain? Talk to our medical team to see if arthroscopic surgery may be able to help diagnose and treat your problem.