Ankle Sprain Surgery – When is an Operation Necessary Or Appropriate?

The vast majority of foot and ankle conditions do not require surgical intervention. Surgery is only considered to be a last option when the conservative treatment fails to alleviate the pain and symptoms of ankle injury.

An ankle sprain surgery or operation is needed only when there are ongoing pains after spraining the ankle at the level of the ankle or the person is suffering from discomfort due to the instability of the ankle.

When the pain following an ankle sprain is severe then a minimally invasive surgical procedure, which is also called an arthroscopic surgery is required. It is a surgery which examines and treats joints of the body through an arthroscope. When you undergo arthroscopy, loose cartilage or inflamed tissues (synovitis) and scar tissues (arthrofibrosis) are removed from the joint.

However the decision to have surgery following an ankle sprain is totally dependent on the choice of the patient.

There is an ongoing debate on whether or not an early operative repair of the ligaments, without first undergoing conservative treatment, is necessary or justified. The two issues have their own evidence to support their contentions.

Ankle instability problem following an ankle sprain may or may not be repaired immediately by surgery; it may still have to undergo conservative treatment. You have to understand that ankle sprain surgery is already the last resort.

You must therefore experience recurrent ankle sprain injuries, and persistent ankle pain in order for surgery to be considered. The ligaments are likely torn and have not healed properly, leaving the ankle joint too loose.

If you are experiencing chronic, recurring ankle sprains you probably have loose ligaments in your ankle that needs to be tightened by using the Brostrom procedure.

The process involves putting you into sleep under a general anesthesia. The surgeons then make all the required incisions and fix the injured lateral ankle ligaments, hoping they could restore the ankle back to its previous state.

The procedure involves shortening and attaching the lateral ligaments again, as a way of reconstructing them. This tightens the loose tissue, preventing the ankle from being unstable. Ankle instability can be detected both by careful physical examination as well as by special X-ray tests.

Ankle sprain surgery has been mostly very successful. However, as part of the process, you have to undergo rehabilitation and continuously wear casts or walking boots to let the ankle heal completely. After a good rehabilitation, you can return to your normal activities in no time.