Life After Ankle Surgery

Life After Ankle Surgery

Almost everyone has hurt their ankle at some point in their lives. Fortunately for most of us, these injuries typically heal with time and a little bit of help from simple self-care treatments. However, in some cases when the damage is too severe, the pain does not resolve or an injury recurs it may be time to consider ankle surgery.

Whether you have an ankle injury or another type of foot or ankle issue, Dr. Todd Cox at Yavapai Foot and Ankle Center in Prescott, Arizona, can help. Their combination of cutting-edge treatments and convenient one-stop care options including on-site screenings and diagnostic testing make them a great choice for children and adults looking for top-notch care.

Ankle anatomy

Three bones make up the ankle — the shin bone known as the tibia, the thinner bone next to it which is the fibula, and a bone that is above the heel bone in the foot called the talus. A number of ligaments surround the ankle and joints and hold the bones together.

Injuries and other issues

Many ankle problems will heal with rest and minor interventions. Others, however, will need treatment. These can include a fracture to the bone, chronic instability due to a series of sprains or another reason, and chronic tendonitis. Arthritis severe enough to cause pain and problems with mobility and a deformity of the ankle are two additional potential causes for needing surgery.

Types of surgery

Depending on the ankle problem, there are a variety of surgery options available. They include:

Ankle arthroscopy

Often used for ligament repair and cartilage removal, this procedure involves making a small incision then inserting an arthroscope with a tiny camera into the ankle. Miniature tools are used for the surgery while the doctor watches on the camera feed.

Fracture repair 

Depending on the severity of the break, metal screws and plates may be used to set a bone that has been broken in multiple places or to help restore proper alignment.

Ankle joint replacement

Individuals with advanced arthritis may be helped by an ankle joint replacement where the ends of the bones are replaced with prosthetic parts.

Ankle fusion

Another option for people with severe arthritis, ankle fusion uses metal parts to permanently connect the ankle bones. This eventually results in the individual bones melding together to form one bone.

Ankle reconstruction

Ankle reconstruction tightens weak ligaments to help prevent instability and recurring sprains.

Life after surgery

What life will look like immediately after surgery will depend on what the issue was and which procedure is performed. In some cases, it will be possible to walk soon after the procedure while others will require time to rest.

All types of surgery will need rehabilitation and physical therapy at some point in the healing process. These exercises are specifically designed for the individual with the goal of increasing the ankle's flexibility and strengthening the muscles that support it. Most treatment plans take about four to six weeks.

If you haven't found relief for your ankle pain using a conservative approach, it may be time to consider surgery. Call our office at 928-445-4898 or click here to book an appointment today to learn which treatment option is right for you.

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