Day after day, your ankles are hard at work supporting your weight and making it possible for you to use your feet. Standing, walking, running, jumping, and even sitting up in a chair all rely on your ankles to support your legs and body.
Your ankles are strong, but overuse or trauma can stretch them to their breaking point. If you sustain an injury to your ankle that conservative treatments cannot address, it’s time to talk to your doctor about ankle surgery in order to restore your ankle’s function.
What Are the Different Types of Ankle Surgery?
The best type of surgery to treat your ankle condition will depend on the extent of the damage and certain health factors. Your doctor will explain which type of surgery may be best for you, and your surgery may be one of the following types:
Loose bone fragments, damaged cartilage, and torn ligaments (such as in a severe sprained ankle) can be treated with arthroscopy. In this minimally invasive procedure, your doctor makes a small incision to insert a narrow tube with a fiber-optic video function called an arthroscope.
The view from inside your joint is transmitted in real-time to a video monitor right there in the operating room. This allows your surgeon to inspect the joint and guide their next actions without making a large incision.
Additional incisions may be made in different points near the affected ankle. Your doctor will then use special surgical equipment to treat and repair the joint.
Given the small and precise incisions in arthroscopic surgery, the patient experiences less postoperative pain and recovers at a faster rate than after traditional open surgery. Most arthroscopic surgery can be done on an outpatient basis.
Ankle Fracture Repair Surgery
If you break any of the bones comprising your ankle joint, your doctor can relieve the pain and repair the bones through surgery. This may involve repositioning your broken bone fragments and using metal plates and screws to hold the bone fragments together to foster proper healing.
In an ankle replacement surgery, your doctor removes the damaged ends of your ankle bones and attaches a prosthetic ankle in their place. Candidates for an ankle replacement are healthy individuals who have advanced arthritis. Although the procedure can relieve your pain, you may be advised to avoid high-impact activities to prevent damaging the artificial joint.
During an ankle fusion, your surgeon removes damaged tissue and permanently joins the ankle bones together using metal screws and plates. The damaged bones will then naturally fuse into one bone as they heal. In contrast with ankle replacement, this is generally recommended for younger patients with more active lifestyles.
One downside of the procedure, which your surgeon will discuss with you, is that it reduces the ankle’s range of motion. This may also result in additional stress on the nearby joints, which increases your risk of developing arthritis in those joints.
Lateral Ankle Ligament Reconstruction
Also known as the Broström procedure, a lateral ankle ligament reconstruction can help to stabilize and strengthen the ankle, especially after having recurring ankle sprains. In this procedure, your doctor will tighten the loose or weakened ligaments. This procedure is often done as an outpatient surgery.
Foot and Ankle Surgeons in Cincinnati
If you have a foot or ankle condition that’s preventing you from living your best life, visit Cincinnati Foot & Ankle Care. Our board-certified foot and ankle surgeons can help you get back on your feet in no time.
To schedule an appointment, call any of our 18 locations in the Cincinnati area or fill out our online appointment form. We look forward to serving you and helping you to live a more active, pain-free lifestyle.