Ankle arthroscopy

What is it?

Ankle arthroscopy is a keyhole surgical procedure used to treat a variety of ankle problems.

You may need ankle arthroscopy if you have the following symptoms:

  • Swelling or tenderness in the ankle
  • Pain in the ankle

Ankle arthroscopy can be used in a variety of different ways to treat ankle conditions. It can also be used to diagnose problems by providing the consultant with a clear image of all the joints and structures inside the ankle.

Diagnosis and treatment options

Your consultant will examine you and ask you to demonstrate certain movements to check how well your ankle is working. Dependent upon your underlying problem, you may need some additional tests, which will be fully discussed with you during your appointment. This could include:

  • X-ray
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

Arthroscopy may be used to perform the following procedures:

Arthritic joint debridement: Osteoarthritis and injury can result in excessive scar tissue and diseased cartilage forming in the joint. Arthroscopy removes any diseased parts of the joint, along with any bone or loose fragments of bone.

Arthroscopy following an injury: Chronic ankle symptoms can be caused following a sprain or injury due to torn ligaments and damaged cartilage.

Footballer’s ankle: A large spur of bone at the front of the ankle can be painful when the foot is extended which can be removed by arthroscopy. This injury is common for those involved in kicking sports.

The surgical procedure involves your consultant inserting a small camera into the ankle joint. They will use these images to guide miniature surgical instruments to correct and repair the damage. The procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic and is performed as a daycase. Recovery is dependent upon the underlying problem being addressed but is minimised by being keyhole, reducing the soft tissue associated with trauma of surgery.

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