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Ankle Arthroscopy


Ankle arthroscopy involves using very small incisions to gain access into the ankle joint. Each incision is less than 1cm and usually two incisions are required.


Indications of ankle arthroscopy


  • Ankle arthritis
  • Footballers ankle (Anterior Ankle Impingement)
  • Unstable Ankle
  • Lateral ligament reconstruction
  • Ankle pain following fracture
  • Loose bodies within the ankle
  • Osteochondral defects of the talus
  • Diseases of the synovium
  • Undiagnosed ankle pain(diagnostic arthroscopy)


Advantage of ankle arthroscopy


Ankle arthroscopy is an alternative to open ankle surgery. Very small incisions are required to perform the procedure that results in minimal soft tissue disruption and trauma. This in turn results in:


  • Significantly lower pain levels than an open approach
  • The ankle is comfortable to weight bear immediately post surgery
  • Most cases can be performed as day care
  • Lower infection rates than open surgery
  • Earlier return to work/function/sports
  • Little scarring
  • Minimal effect if further surgery to the ankle is required


After ankle arthroscopy


The first 24 hours


Pain Relief
A PCA pump can be given to control the pain along with I/V pain reliving medicine.


Cold compress


After the ankle arthroscopy, once you are back in the ward, the physiotherapist will start mobilizing you. You may put partial weight as is comfortable. The conditions where this is not the case are with an osteo- chondral defect and if your arthroscopy has been part of a lateral ligament reconstruction. You will be more comfortable using crutches for a day or two and then these can be discarded.


Your operated leg will need to be elevated and non-weight bearing for the first 24 to 48 hours.


You are encouraged to exercise your ankle within the bandage both by moving it up and down as well as moving it from side to side. This is from as soon as you are able to do this.


Length of stay
Once fully awake and mobile the patient can go in the evening or next day morning.


Bandaging after Ankle Arthroscopy
Following an ankle arthroscopy you will have three layers of covering. Closest to the wounds are two small adhesive coverings and these should be kept on for 48 hours.


Driving after Ankle Arthroscopy
Generally you should be comfortable and safe to drive at 3-4 weeks following your ankle arthroscopy as long as you are permitted to weight bear.


Return to Sport
After ankle arthroscopy you will be back to walking at 10 to 15 days following your ankle arthroscopy. This will be without use of a crutch. Any sporting activity is best left for at least 10-12 weeks following the procedure.