What Is Ankle Arthroscopy Surgery?

Ankle arthroscopy is a surgical procedure that uses a fibre-optic viewing camera and small surgical tools to operate in and around the ankle joint through small incisions. Ankle arthroscopy is performed for the surgical evaluation and treatment of a variety of ankle conditions. Arthroscopic surgery can have a quicker recovery time than traditional open surgery

For some people, arthroscopy means a speedier recovery, less scarring, and fewer complications than open surgery.

Why to do Ankle Arthroscopy

You may need ankle arthroscopy if you have debris in your ankle from torn cartilage or from a bone chip. Also, if there is ligament damage from a severely sprained ankle, a bone surgeon may choose to do an arthroscopy to evaluate the extent of damage and possibly to repair it.

Mulitple Indications are:

  • osteochondral lesions of the talus
  • microfracture of OCD
  • debridement of post-traumatic synovitis
  • ATFL anterolateral impingement
  • AITFL anterolateral impingement
  • resection of anterior tibiotalar spurs
  • such as anterior bony impingement
  • os trigonum excision
  • removal of loose bodies
  • cartilage debridement in conjunction with ankle fusions

What does the operation involve?

  • Various anaesthetic techniques are possible.
  • The operation usually takes 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Your surgeon will examine your ankle ligaments while you are under the anaesthetic and your muscles are completely relaxed. They will insert a small camera through one or more small cuts around your ankle.
  • They will wash out any loose material caused by wear of the joint surfaces. Your surgeon will remove any spurs of bone or swelling of the lining of your ankle joint.
  • If you have torn your ankle ligaments, you may need a reconstruction operation.
  • You can expect some pain and swelling following surgery.
  • The leg may need to be kept elevated.
  • You may need to take oral pain medication for several days.
  • You may be able to walk on the leg immediately, or you may need to wait several months before putting weight on the leg. This will depend on the type of surgery performed and the recommendations of your surgeon.
  • If needed, sutures are removed one to two weeks after surgery.
  • Your surgeon will determine when activities such as range-of-motion and ankle exercises are allowed. Physical therapy may also be used.

Risks and Complications

  • All surgeries come with possible complications, including the risks associated with anesthesia, infection, damage to nerves and blood vessels, and bleeding or blood clots.
  • Potential complications specific to ankle arthroscopy include injury to nerves and blood vessels around the ankle. Numbness or tingling at the top of the foot can occur approximately 10 percent of the time. This typically resolves over time.
When can I safely return to driving?
  • You will likely be cleared for driving when you are able to bear weight without limitation and are no longer taking narcotic pain medication.
When can I expect to return to work and sports?
  • You may be able to return work several days after surgery if you can safely complete your job duties. Most patients can expect to be out of work for at least 1-2 weeks. It is possible to return to high-level sports following ankle arthroscopy, but expect at least 4-6 weeks of recovery before getting back to such activities.
Is ankle arthroscopy effective?
  • 70-90% of patients undergoing ankle arthroscopy for common problems achieve good or excellent results.