The ankles support your weight every day and allow using your feet. Additionally, the ankles support the legs and body to run, walk, and jump. Trauma or overuse stretches the ankles to breaking point despite being strong. When you get an injury to the ankle, sometimes you might not heal from the various treatments. The next solution would be to visit a podiatrist to perform ankle surgery. Read on to discover some ankle problems that require surgery.
Ankle joint problems
Arthroscopy is a treatment solution when having damaged cartilage, severely sprained ankle, or loose bone ligaments. The minimally invasive procedure involves the doctor making a tiny incision for inserting a narrow tube having an arthroscope – a fiber-optic video. This video shows the inside of your joints on a video monitor. Through this, the doctor checks the join and determines the next actions
The doctor might make more incisions in different areas near the problem area. Afterward, the doctor uses special surgical tools to treat and manage your joint. With tiny and precise arthroscopic incisions, you experience little post-operation pain. In addition, you will recover faster compared to regular open surgery.
1. Ankle fracture
You have to budget for ankle surger if you fracture your ankle joint. The doctor will perform surgy to relieve pain and repair the bones. If the broken bone fragments need repositioning, the doctor might hold them together using metal plates and screws to heal faster. Some of the types of ankle fractures that might require surgery include:
- Lateral malleolus fracture
- Pilon fracture
- Trimalleolar ankle fracture
- Bimalleolar ankle fracture
2. Ankle replacement
When the structures and tissues of your ankle joint have severe damage that can’t be naturally repaired, ankle arthroplasty is the best solution. This surgery involves total ankle replacement with the removal of bone surfaces and other tissue for replacement with prosthetic components. These components are made from polyethylene and medical-grade titanium materials.
After recovery, your mobility normalizes and you enjoy a pain-free lifestyle. However, you are advised to avoid activities that might damage the new joint. Some of the situations that require getting ankle replacement include:
- Advanced arthritis
- Chronic ankle pain
- Weakness in the ankle
- Ankle instability
3. Ankle fusion
When you have an ankle fracture or arthritis with the cartilage damaged, the doctor may perform surgery. Wearing away cartilage constricts space between bones causing friction. This leads to pain, stiffness, and deformity in the ankle joint. During ankle fusion surgery, the doctor removes damaged tissue and joins the ankle bones permanently together with metal screws and plates.
The bones with damage will fuse into a single bone naturally in the process of healing. This type of ankle surgery is recommended for younger patients with an active lifestyle. On the downside, the ankle’s motion range changes because of the stress on the knee joint.
4. Lateral ankle ligament reconstruction
Loose ankles resulting from recurrent sprains require a Broström procedure. This is a surgery to repair ligaments outside or on the lateral side of the ankle. The procedure addresses ankle instability by tightening or repairing the anterior talofibular ligament. To perform the procedure, the doctor cut an incision on the ankle outside opening down to the joint. This allows identifying the anterior talofibular ligament for tightening.
Doing this requires cutting the ligament and tightening it in position using strong sutures. If this ligament is loose, the procedure is done on the calcaneofibular ligament. Fibular anchors are used to strengthening the ligament. Modifying the Broström procedure is necessary to identify the strong extensor retinaculum and incorporating it in the repair. The procedure enhances lateral ankle stability, enhances ankle mechanics, and full function restoration.
5. Rupture of Achilles tendon
Traumatic injury to the Achilles tendon requires surgical intervention. When having this condition, you experience severe and acute lower calf pain. The surgery requires approximating torn ends for suturing using heavy non-absorbing sutures. You have to maintain the ankle in a rigid orthosis or rigid caste. And, you have to limit traveling for about 4 to 6 weeks. Full progress is expected after 4 months of the surgery.
How long to recover after ankle surgery
It is very important to understand that ankle injuries are not the same and our bodies heal at their pace. However, it takes about six weeks for the bones to heal after ankle surgery. The healing time is longer for tendons or torn ligaments. Don’t move the leg after the surgery to give it time to heal and to lessen the chances of getting another injury.
The doctor will recommend checkups and x-rays to check on the progress of the healing process. Besides, the doctor will suggest when to begin putting weight on the foot again. This is after the bones become stronger enough to support the body weight. The doctor is likely to recommend rehabilitation even after rehabilitation. Make sure to do some exercises and stretches to help you regain full strength and motion in the ankle. Getting back to normal is likely to take a few months.
Many factors can cause ankle injuries that require surgery. When having any of those conditions, never hesitate to visit a Houston podiatrist for immediate assistance.
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