Ankle Surgery Benefits, Types and Risks

Ankle deformity, fractured ankle, pain and immobility due to arthritis, chronic ankle tendonitis, or instability resulting from multiple sprains may not respond well to medication and therapy. In such a situation, Sports Medicine Associates of San Antonio may recommend ankle surgery since it is the only way to support healing in unstable ankle bones.

Surgery benefits

Ankle surgery is the last resort. While it might be scary, it is an effective treatment solution that can allow you to use your ankle again. Surgery also helps alleviate pain and offers long-lasting relief, especially in cases of arthritis. Besides improved function and mobility, you also get a chance to pick comfortable and more fashionable footwear. The common ankle surgery procedures include:

Ankle arthroscopy

The minimally-invasive procedure is commonly done on arthritis patients or individuals with ankle injuries. The doctor uses special equipment to make several small incisions in the ankle and remove bits of the cartilage or bone. You can resume your routine after around two weeks. Resuming demanding activities, including high-level sports, takes around 4-6 weeks.

Ankle fracture surgery

As the name suggests, the procedure is done when you have fractured bones. It helps stabilize the broken bones and support healing. This typically involves using metal wires, screws, and metal plates to hold the fractured bones in place. The procedure depends on the type of fracture experienced.

Tendon surgery

The procedure is commonly done when you are struggling with chronic ankle synovitis/tendonitis. Depending on the extent of the situation, the procedure could involve repairing a tear or taking out the diseased tendon tissue. In severe cases, it could involve Achilles reconstruction and transfer. This entails removing the diseased tendon and/or replacement with another from your foot.

Ankle replacement

The procedure involves removing the damaged ankle joint and replacement with a metal or plastic joint. The joint is attached to the existing bone using specialized tools and surgical glue. You might also get some screws to stabilize the replacement joint.

Ankle fusion

The procedure is commonly done to treat arthritis. It entails removing the damaged ankle joint tissue and fusing or joining ankle bones together. Then, the ankle bones are permanently fused with metal plates and screws.

Lateral ankle ligament reconstruction

The surgery, also referred to as the Brostrom procedure, is done in cases of foot deformities or chronic ankle instability. It involves making a small incision outside the ankle and tightening the weakened and loose ligament that causes instability.

Regardless of the procedure undertaken, ankle surgery is effective and safe. Nonetheless, like any surgical treatment, there are potential risks and complications. The most common ankle surgery risks include:

  • Infection
  • Nerve or blood vessels damage
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots/deep vein thrombosis
  • Anesthesia side effects
  • Joint weakness or stiffness

It is important to call your doctor if you spot any symptoms or experience ongoing pain. After the surgery, the ankle is immobilized to facilitate healing and recovery. You can improve the process by wearing a medical boot and taking more measures to avoid injury and further damage. Visit Marque A. Allen, DPM, FACFAS, today to learn more about ankle surgery.

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