Ankle Arthritis Surgery

An ankle arthroscopy may be advised to treat ankle arthritis that is caused by debris from torn cartilage or from a bone chip. There may bone spurs at the front of the ankle that cause pain or restriction in movement. The arthroscopy procedure uses a fiber-optic viewing camera to allow for minimally invasive surgery, this in turn reduces recovery. With the use of the camera, 2-3mm small incisions will be made followed by repair of any cartilage damage, removal of bone spurs and fixation of ligaments. The minimally invasive procedure allows early mobilisation in most cases. Weight-bearing is allowed immediately in a protective shoe or boot. Return to full activity can be anything from 4 to 8 weeks depending on the level of surgery and damage repaired. It may be a few months before you may return to sporting activities. Crutches might be used initially to help mobilise in the first couple of weeks.
In more severe cases an ankle fusion may be suggested to assist with ankle arthritis. This is where two or more of the bones in your ankle are fused into one piece with the use of a screw fixation. Where possible, minimal invasive surgery will be carried out, small 2-3mm incisions would be made and the procedure carried out with the assistance of a camera. Post-operative recovery after an ankle fusion procedure requires a below knee cast and no wait to be put onto the ankle for approximately eight weeks. Careful mobilisation is required over the next couple of months and it might be 6 to 12 months before any significant physical activity, such as sports, is allowed.