Treating An Unstable Ankle
Rolled the ankle again? Ankle instability is a common problem that can lead to discomfort, pain, and repeated ankle sprains. This condition can be caused by sports injuries, poor biomechanics, and arthritis. Ankle instability is often underdiagnosed or overlooked, as the symptoms can be easily mistaken for soreness or overuse. Walking on uneven surfaces or playing sports can cause the ankle to give way repeatedly, especially on the lateral ligaments. An orthopedic specialist can assist with diagnosis and proper treatment when ankle rolling is an ongoing problem. The doctor may recommend ankle stabilization, which can provide excellent results.
What is ankle stabilization surgery?
When repetitive ankle injuries occur, stabilization surgery can help strengthen the ankle’s ligaments. The surgery prevents future injuries and improves stability. Stabilization involves tightening the weakened ligaments and repairing any possible damage. Ankle stabilization is an outpatient procedure, meaning the patient is discharged on the same day. Minimally invasive techniques allow the surgeon to continue recovery at home. Physical therapy (PT) is usually recommended post-op to support recovery. Typically, the patient can resume normal activities within a few weeks.
How the procedure is performed
An ankle stabilization may be performed under general anesthesia and takes 2-3 hours. First, a small incision is made on the side of the leg to reach the ankle joint. A larger incision may be necessary if there is extensive damage to the ligaments. Once the incision has been made, the surgeon will begin working to rebuild the ligaments. Using a surgical tool called an arthroscope, the orthopedic surgeon will reattach the ligaments to the bone. Small metal implants help keep the ligaments and bones in place. The surgeon may also remove bone spurs or tissue damage during the procedure. This will give the ankle additional support and help restore the foot’s normal function.
Recovery and outlook
The recuperation period will vary from patient to patient, but outpatient surgery narrows the recovery timeline significantly. Most patients can return to daily routines in about 6 weeks. However, this will depend on the type of activity and how much weight is applied to the joint. For instance, running and jumping should be avoided for at least 6 weeks following surgery to allow the ligaments to heal properly. Physical therapy can also help improve ankle mechanics, which may have contributed to instability in the first place. Follow the surgeon’s instructions and attend PT consistently for the best results. Adherence is vital in reducing the risk of complications and in ensuring a quick and complete recovery.
Stronger ankles guaranteed
A stabilization procedure can help improve mobility and relieve pain in patients whose ankle has been injured, damaged, or worn away. After surgery, there may still be some limitations to the terrain the patient can walk on to avoid re-injury. Avoiding constant instability can lead to further complications. Scheduling a simple outpatient procedure can transform the way the patient moves for the better.