Ankle arthroscopy refers to a surgical procedure used to treat ankle problems. This minimally invasive procedure uses a small camera to examine and magnify the ankle joint and puts them on a video screen for your doctor to evaluate the joint without the large incisions of traditional ankle surgery. The goal of the procedure is to reduce pain to the ankle joint and improve function.
Conditions and Causes that Require Ankle Arthroscopy
This procedure can be used to identify and treat many disorders of the ankle joint. Common conditions treated by ankle arthroscopy include:
• Ankle arthritis
• Ankle instability
• Severe sprain in the ankle
• Loose bodies/Osteochondral Defects (free floating bone, cartilage and scar tissue in the joint)
• Synovitis or chronic inflammation of the joint
At times, patients may develop pain to the ankle that traditional imaging techniques like x-ray or MRI may miss. In such cases, ankle arthroscopy can help the surgeon look directly into the joint to identify the issue and decide on the treatment for diagnostic purposes.
Who needs Ankle Arthroscopy?
Ankle arthroscopy is usually recommended for injuries caused by sports activities, accidents, and age-related bone conditions. Should an ankle sprain or injury fail to heal as expected or healing is delayed, arthroscopy may be indicated to assess the joint directly and repair any damaged tissues or joint structures.
Why is ankle arthroscopy better than an open surgery
Arthroscopy is an advanced option that minimizes post-surgical effects and scars. Some of the key benefits of ankle arthroscopy include:
• Pain levels are generally lower than an open procedure
• Faster healing of the wound and hence, movement of the ankle and physical therapy can be started earlier
• Generally, faster return to normal activities
Treatment Procedure of Ankle Arthroscopy
• The Actual Procedure of Ankle Arthroscopy: Generally, for arthroscopy, you will be put under general anesthesia, although there are some exceptions to this. The actual procedure involves making minimal incisions in the area of pain or injury. The surgeon performs the procedure with the scope and the wounds are closed with a couple stitches. The leg would be elevated throughout and after the procedure to avoid swelling.
• Post Surgery: You would be given medications for healing and pain relief and are generally in a splint or boot. Depending on the surgery you have, you may be allowed to walk soon after the procedure. Physical therapy is often started following ankle arthroscopy.
If you have ankle pain or have been diagnosed with ankle arthritis, see one of our ankle specialists at Kansas City Foot and Ankle to see if ankle arthroscopy is right for you.