What is an Ankle Arthroscopy?
An ankle arthroscopy is a surgical procedure performed to surgically evaluation and treat a range of ankle conditions. It is also known as keyhole surgery or minimally invasive ankle surgery.
Common Conditions Requiring Ankle Arthroscopy
Ankle arthroscopy is useful for investigating a number of conditions, including:
- Ankle arthritis
- Anterior ankle impingement
- Ankle pain following fracture or sprain
- Unstable ankle
- Footballer’s ankle
- Diseases of the soft tissue (synovium)
- Lateral ligament reconstruction
- Loose debris within the ankle from torn cartilage or a bone chip
How is Ankle Arthroscopy Performed?
You will be taken to the operating theatre and prepped for your anaesthetic and surgery. The procedure is carried out either under a general, local or regional anaesthetic so you will not feel any pain. Your foot, leg and ankle will be exposed and cleaned with a sterile solution ready for the operation.
Ankle arthroscopy involves making very small incisions to gain access to the ankle joint with a small fibre optic viewing camera and surgical tools, in order to operate in and around the joint. Each incision is about 1cm in size and 2 cuts are generally required. The surgeon will assess for soft tissue, bone and cartilage injury. It is generally performed as a day-case procedure, depending on the findings of the arthroscopy.
Once your procedure is complete, the incisions will be closed and stitched together and bandaged. You will have 2 small adhesive coverings over the wound that must be kept on for 2 weeks. The top layers of bandaging should be kept on for 1 week, with the wound being kept clean and dry for 2 weeks. If the adhesive dressings become loose or dislodged, you can replace them (without touching the wound) with a large adhesive plaster. These plasters can be replaced regularly, as often is required, but ensure you do not touch the wound.
After the Operation
Arthroscopic surgery usually means a speedier recovery for most people as there is less scarring and fewer complications compared to open surgery.
You should keep your ankle elevated once you return home and use ice to minimise swelling and help control pain. Pain medication may be prescribed, but over the counter painkillers should be enough to ease any discomfort you are experiencing.
Depending on the extent of your surgery, you may be able to weight bear fairly soon after your operation with the use of crutches or a walking frame, although if your procedure was quite extensive and required remodelling of the ankle, your surgeon may choose to put your ankle in a cast to prevent you from moving it too soon. If your arthroscopy only was performed to establish a diagnosis, you are likely to be put in a simple splint or air splint.
It is important that you follow the rehabilitation programme given to you in order to help speed up the recovery process. However, do not rush your rehabilitation as this could hinder your progress. Recovery time from ankle arthroscopy varies depending on the extent of your surgery, your health, any pre-existing medical conditions, along with any complications after surgery. Recovery typically takes between 4-6 weeks.
You can return to work when your ankle feels comfortable and you are confident your ankle will be able to stand the demands of your job. If your job is office based and involves sitting during the day, you may be able to return to work within 7 days of your operation; however, if your job is strenuous and involves a lot of walking, you will probably need 2-3 weeks off work, depending on the extent of your surgery.
You should be able to return to driving 7 days after your operation, provided your ankle feels comfortable and you are confident to do so.
It is advisable that you avoid strenuous activities for a minimum of 4-6 weeks to give time for your ankle to strengthen and allow swelling to go down. After this time, you can gradually increase your level of activity and make sure you can hop and sprint with changes of direction and make sudden stops without experiencing any pain.
Risks and Complications
Complications from ankle arthroscopy are rare, but like any invasive surgery, they can occur. If you experience any of the below symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately:
- Fever and chills
- Pus draining from the incisions
- Redness around the incisions
- Increasing pain more than 2 day post-surgery
- Increased swelling or pain in the leg
- Numbness or tingling in the leg
- Changes in skin colour
- A cold leg or foot
At One Healthcare we can book you in to see a specialist Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeon for an initial consultation, usually within 48 hours. Ankle arthroscopy procedures are available at One Ashford Hospital in Kent and One Hatfield Hospital in Hertfordshire.
You can use your private medical insurance or pay for your Ankle Arthroscopy treatment. We offer competitive, fixed price packages as well as the ability to spread your cost with the option of 0% finance. If you are using your health insurance please do contact your insurer first for approval and let them know you’d like to be treated at either the One Ashford Hospital or One Hatfield Hospital.
Why One Healthcare
- Modern purpose-built hospital opened in March 2016 (Ashford) December 2017 (Hatfield)
- Fast access to diagnostics including MRI, Xray and Ultrasound
- Private, spacious, en-suite rooms
- Specialist Physiotherapy and nursing teams
- Little or no waiting time
- ‘Ultra clean air’ theatres
- Freshly prepared food
- Calm, dignified experience
Contact us and find out more
Contact our team to find out more information regarding private Ankle Arthroscopy or to book an initial consultation.
If you live in and around the Kent area and would like to visit our One Ashford Hospital please click here
If you are based in and around Hertfordshire and would like to visit the One Hatfield Hospital please click here.