Ankle Arthroscopy

Ankle Arthroscopy

Ankle arthroscopy refers to keyhole surgery which is used to treat a variety of ankle problems including:

  • Bony spurs (osteophytes)
  • Arthritis
  • Ligament damage or scarring
  • Loose chips of bone or cartilage
  • Bone or cartilage damage or lesions
  • Small fractures
  • Ankle impingement
  • Other connected/combined surgery
Surgery is usually performed as a day procedure and will involve both a general anaesthetic and a local anaesthetic placed into the incisions to numb some of the pain following surgery.  Two or three keyholes are made for small telescopic cameras and instruments to see into the joint and clean up or treat the lesions. Surgery usually takes around 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Crutches are required for the first few days until it is comfortable to walk unaided.  Generally you are allowed to be full weight bearing (although we may advise you to be non-weight bearing depending on your procedure).
The foot should be rested and elevated for 36-48 hours and then mostly rested and elevated for the first week. Icing for 20 minutes two or three times daily for the first 3-5 days can help with swelling and pain.
The outer soft bandage can be removed after 48 hours and an elastic bandage applied to help control swelling.  Stick-on dressings should remain until your first check-up. If they fall off please replace them with a Bandaid.  A small amount of blood on the dressings is normal.
The foot and ankle should be moved up and down and in circles to prevent stiffening and blood clots. Physiotherapy may be started after 10 days if required. Station bike exercise can start 5-7 days after your surgery.
Driving is not recommended for at least 1 week.

Time off work
Desk work 4-7 days
Light duties 1-2 weeks
Standing/heavy work 3-5 weeks
Sports 6-12 weeks
Full recovery 3-4 months
  • Removal of ankle problems and associated pain
  • Ability to return to work and normal everyday activities
  • Prevention of further complications if not treated

The risks with arthroscopic surgery are rare but include:

  • Complications from the anaesthetic
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Blood clots
  • Resultant stiffness



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