When is Surgery Required for an Ankle Injury?

When you injure your ankle, most of the time it can be treated through conservative measures. Sometimes, though, you’ll need to get surgery on your ankle to make a full recovery.

After spraining or otherwise injuring your ankle, always seek a medical opinion from a podiatrist in case your ankle needs surgical repair. Thomas Rambacher, DPM of Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle in Mission Viejo, California explains when you’ll need to get surgery to recover from an ankle injury.

What are ankle injuries?

You can get an ankle injury any time your ankle twists or moves out of place. You’re at the highest risk of having an ankle injury occur while playing sports, walking on an uneven area, wearing high-heeled shoes, or fall or land in an awkward way.

Ankle injuries vary in their severity and can be acute or chronic. Acute injuries occur when you strain, sprain, or fracture the bones, ligaments, and tendons surrounding your ankle. Chronic injuries, such as tendinitis, can develop after years of overuse.

Symptoms of an acute ankle injury include pain, swelling, bruising, and difficulty or complete inability to walk on your ankle. Chronic ankle injuries can cause swelling, tenderness, and a feeling of warmth in the impacted area.

Times surgery is required for an ankle injury

The majority of the time, Dr. Rambacher can treat your ankle injury with conservative solutions, such as RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) protocol, pain medication, and a brace or splint. However, Dr. Rambacher recommends surgery to repair some more serious injuries.

These are some of the instances where Dr. Rambacher usually recommends ankle surgery.

Your ankle is chronically unstable

After an ankle sprain, fracture, or another similar injury, it’s common to experience instability in your ankle. This means your ankle is out of place, and it might feel wobbly or unstable when you try to stand on it.

Often, ankle instability heals with conservative treatment and time. Other times, either after trying a more conservative treatment that hasn’t worked or because of the severity of your initial injury, you’ll need to get surgery to repair your ankle’s stability.

You injured your ligaments

Your ankle’s ligaments hold together your entire ankle. When you have a number of damaged ligaments or severe damage in certain ligaments, your ankle can’t regain its previous stability. Dr. Rambacher recommends surgery in these cases to restore your ligaments.

You have bone damage

Bone damage occurs in ankle injuries when you break or fracture bones in your ankle. These bones frequently fall out of position when damaged, which is another cause of chronic instability in your ankle. Through surgery, your bones will heal in their proper location and fully heal your ankle.

How do I know if I need ankle surgery?

Dr. Rambacher thoroughly evaluates your ankle to determine your best treatment plan. Along with performing a full examination, Dr. Rambacher takes X-rays and does additional tests if necessary. Dr. Rambacher recommends that least minimally invasive treatment that will treat your injury.

If you’ve injured your ankle or are experiencing chronic pain around your ankle, make an appointment online or calling Podiatry Hotline Foot & Ankle to restore your ankle’s health and full functionality before permanent damage is caused. Our team offers telemedicine and in-person appointments.

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