man holding ankle while outdoors

Ankles: From Sprains to Surgeries

Categories: Sports Medicine

What you need to know about common ankle injuries.

Whether you’ve had a collision on a sports field, tripped while on a power walk, or had a moment of poor form in crossfit, chances are that you have sore ankle joints. So at what point does this pain go from a bummer that holds you up for a few days to an actual long term concern? The team of doctors at The Central Orthopedic Group break down some common ankle injuries and what to expect when it comes to healing and repair.


What is an Ankle Sprain?

An unnatural twist or traumatic will cause the ankle ligaments to stretch or tear. This is a sprain. When not properly treated, an ankle sprain has the ability to develop into a serious long-term issue. Simple treatments include resting and applying ice to reduce swelling, as well as compression bandages that will assist in supporting the injury. However, if the issue persists, it’s always recommended to contact you Orthopedic Surgeon, as the injury can be more serious than meets the untrained eye, and might require a surgical procedure to properly repair.

Common signs of an ankle sprain:

  1. Pain when bearing weight
  2. Swollen ankle
  3. Bruises
  4. Limited range of motion
  5. Tenderness to the touch
  6. Ankle instability


Ankle Stabilization Procedure:

If a patient experiences multiple ankle sprains, they may suffer from excessively painful and unsteady ankles. If ankle bracing, orthotics or physical therapy do not aid in reducing pain, the patient may require a surgical procedure. This procedure will repair and tighten the damaged ligaments.

An ankle stabilization is typically a same-day procedure, taking place in either a hospital or surgical center, which utilizes a very small incision. Following surgery, the patient will likely receive a cast to help repair the ligaments over the course of the next several weeks, staying conscious of weight-bearing activities.


Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery:

If non-surgical methods are not providing your ankle pain with any relief, then it might suggest that you’re a candidate for an arthroscopic ankle procedure. An arthroscopic ankle surgery involves two or three small incisions. Then, a camera goes into the joint, which allows the surgeon to evaluate the ankle joint. Furthermore, they can repair defects to cartilage, as well as remove inflamed tissues and debris.

Following the procedure, the patient should not bear any weight for 1-2 weeks, depending on the extensiveness of the individual surgery. Following suture removal, the patient can bear full weight. In order to maximize healing, the patient should proceed with post-surgical exercises to maximize healing.

Typically, a patient will be healed in 6 weeks. Depending on the severity of the injury, they will likely be able to return to athletics in 8 weeks.