Ankle arthroscopy is a surgical procedure allowing consultants to treat ankle problems. A small camera is inserted into the ankle joint, displaying an image on a television screen. The consultant uses these images to guide miniature surgical instruments to correct and repair the damage.
There are different types of ankle surgery and arthroscopy is applied in a variety of different ways to treat foot and ankle conditions. It can be used to diagnose problems by providing the surgeon with a clear image of all the joints and structures inside the foot and ankle.
Ankle arthroscopy may be used to perform the following:
- Arthritic joint debridement: Osteoarthritis and injury can result in excessive scar tissue and diseased cartilage forming in the joint. Arthroscopy removes the diseased parts of the joint, along with any bone spurs or loose fragments of bone.
- Arthroscopy following an injury: Chronic ankle symptoms can arise following a sprain or injury. The ligaments can be torn and the cartilage can be damaged. This damage can be treated by arthroscopy.
- Footballer’s ankle: A common problem for people involved in kicking sports – a large spur of bone at the front of the ankle can be painful and restrict free movement of the ankle. The spur can be removed by arthroscopy.
Swelling or tenderness in the ankle
- Pain in the ankle
- Restriction of ankle movement
- Locking (temporarily getting stuck in a fixed ankle position)
What is the treatment?
Ankle arthroscopy is usually performed under general anaesthetic and the procedure can take between 30-45 minutes depending on the case and the severity of the ankle problem.
Several very small incisions are made in the ankle, allowing a small camera to be inserted through one of the incisions and small surgical instruments to be inserted through the others.
The camera will project an image of the inside of the ankle joint on a screen and the surgeon will be able to examine the problems in the area and treat them accordingly.
Any damaged or diseased cartilage or bone spurs will be removed and/or repaired.
Following the procedure the incisions may be closed with stitches or steri-strips and the ankle may be bandaged.