Ankle Arthroscopy

You have been advised to undergo an arthroscopy of the ankle.  This is keyhole surgery to look into the ankle joint and can also treat a number of problems within the joint.

  • The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic with a tourniquet on the leg.  This stops the blood flow to the limb during the surgery which provides a clear operative field
  • The leg is set up on a traction system so that a good view can be obtained
  • In most circumstances two 5mm incisions are placed on the front of the ankle joint and a telescope measuring 2.9mm is inserted.  Sometimes it is necessary to look into the back of the joint and the wounds will therefore be behind the ankle
  • The arthroscope gives very good views of the ankle.  Commonly scarring is identified and this is removed using a special shaver instrument which is placed into one of the wounds.  This scar tissue gets trapped in the joint during motion and its removal is usually followed by a complete recovery
  • The joint surface will be inspected and any damage to the cartilage surface will be assessed and where possible treated.  Loose bodies of cartilage and bone can also be removed
  • Sometimes a bone spur is present at the front of the ankle joint and this can be removed using a special bone shaver
  • After the operation the wounds are stitched together and a bandage applied
  • If the operation is carried out during the morning you may be able to go home that day but if the surgery iis performed in the afternoon or evening then you will stay overnight in hospital
  • The physiotherapist will help you to mobilise after the operation.  Some patients will need crutches during the first week but are not required by all patients
  • The stitches will be removed at 2 weeks after surgery
  • Assuming that the problem found is one of scar tissue (impingement) then you will be able to return to light activities at week 3 increasing over the next 2-4 weeks.  Most patients will be able to take part in sport by 6 weeks after the operation.  If the joint surface is damaged then it may take longer.  Mr Uglow will inform you of any specific requirements

Post Operative Program

Ankle Arthroscopy