What is Ankle Arthroscopy?

Ankle arthroscopy is surgery performed on the ankle joint through “keyholes”. A camera is inserted and the inside of the joint is viewed on a video monitor. Instruments are then inserted through a seperate keyhole to perform the procedure.

When is it Recommended?

Ankle arthroscopy is recommended for conditions which have failed non-surgical treatment or where non-surgical treatment is likely to cause more damage. Ankle arthroscopy can also be used to diagnose certain conditions however with the availability of modern imaging techniques the diagnosis is usually more certain prior to surgery than it once was.

Common conditions treated with knee arthroscopy include:

  • Osteochonrdal lesions
  • Bony Impingement
  • Soft tissue impingement
  • Os trigonum syndrome
  • Ankle arthritis 
  • Flexor hallicus longus tendonits
  • Tarsal coalition
  • Infection

What Does it Involve?

You may need to temporarily stop certain blood thinning or diabetic medications prior to surgery. You will be informed of this but if you are unsure of your requirements please ask.

The procedure is day surgery and is done under a general or regional anaesthetic. Your ankle will be bandaged and you will be given crutches to help you mobilise when you go home. You will have a follow up appointment in 2 weeks for suture removal and will then be able to walk without crutches.

How Long is the Recovery?

Your recovery depends on the amount and type of damage being treated and the procedures required. You will need 1-2 weeks off work depending on your job. Sometimes light duties are needed for a further period before returning to full duties. Typically patients are able to drive after 1-2 weeks. People can often return to normal daily activities by 6 weeks but sport may take longer particularly with osteochondral lesions.

Is Physiotherapy Required?

Not everyone who has an ankle arthroscopy needs or wants physiotherapy but in certain cases it can be beneficial. If rapid return to sport or physically demanding work is required physiotherapy will be recommended.

What are the Risks?

Ankle arthroscopy is a very safe procedure. Risks, however, include but are not limited to infection, blood clots, stiffness, injury to nerves and blood vessels.