What are conditions requiring ankle arthroscopy?
Arthroscopy allows a full diagnostic and therapeutic approach to the ankle joint. Common indications (reasons) for ankle arthroscopy include impingement and cartilage injuries.
What are the symptoms of ankle impingement and cartilage injury?
Most ankle problems are noticed or caused by ankle sprains. In the case of impingement, extra scar tissue builds up along the front of the joint causing continued pain after a period that would normally allow full recovery. Symptoms include pain over the front and outside of the ankle that is worse with walking and dorsiflexion (bringing the foot up). Cartilage injuries can occur after bad ankle sprains, fractures, or spontaneously due to a poor blood supply. Symptoms include pain and swelling of the ankle, and occasionally catching/clicking and sometimes locking of the joint.
How can these lesions be treated?
Impingement lesions of the ankle are treated with debridement (resection). Cartilage injuries can sometimes be repaired, but often require debridement with a host of various cartilage restoration procedures such as microfracture, drilling, and sometimes cartilage transplant.
What is the surgery and recovery like?
All patients receive a general anesthetic. Three small (<1cm) incisions are made around the ankle for the arthroscope and instruments. Most patients are able to return to work in 1 week. Return to activity and sport depends on the exact surgery done and the severity of the findings. This is often tailored on a case-by-case basis.