OSALI is now South Island Orthopedics


Foot & Ankle

Ankle Arthroscopy

Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to diagnose and treat injuries and abnormalities within the joints. This procedure is commonly used to confirm a diagnosis made by physical examination and imaging techniques. It can also be used to treat conditions within the joints. While ankle surgery once required an invasive open procedure that left patients with long hospital stays and recovery times, many of those procedures can now be performed with the simpler, less invasive ankle arthroscopy.

Woodbury Achilles Rupture

A person walking with pain in the ankle may need an ankle arthroscopy procedure.

What is this procedure used for?

Ankle arthroscopy can be used to treat a wide range of ankle conditions and relieve the chronic pain frequently associated with them. Ankle arthroscopy is often successful in treating:

  • Tissue bands
  • Ligament tears
  • Articular cartilage damage
  • Bone spurs
  • Tendonitis
  • Arthritis

How is an ankle arthroscopy performed?

Ankle arthroscopy is performed on an outpatient basis and uses tiny incisions to access the ankle joint. During this procedure, a camera tube called an arthroscope is inserted into one of the incisions and small surgical instruments into the others. The arthroscope allows the surgeon to visually examine the ankle joint and guide the instruments to the area for treatment. The arthroscopy procedure usually takes 30 to 45 minutes to perform.

This procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Patients may experience some pressure, but otherwise the procedure is painless. Exercise and other strenuous activities should be avoided for six weeks after this procedure.

What are the benefits of getting an ankle arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy offers many benefits over a traditional open surgery because of its minimally invasive nature. This procedure has reduced the trauma associated with many ankle procedures, and offers patients the opportunity to get relief from their pain through a simple, outpatient procedure.

Ankle arthroscopy offers patients:

  • Shorter recovery times
  • Less scarring
  • Less bleeding
  • Smaller incisions
  • No cutting of muscles or tendons
  • Less pain and discomfort

What are the risks associated with this procedure?

While ankle arthroscopy is considered a safe procedure, there are certain risks associated with any surgery. Some of these risks include infection, nerve damage, and tingling, numbness and burning sensations. These risks are considered rare, as most patients undergo this procedure with little to no complications.

Although ankle arthroscopy can benefit many patients, it is not for everyone. Talk to your doctor to learn more about this procedure and find out if it is right for you.

Achilles Tendon Rupture

An Achilles tendon rupture is a common injury that involves a tearing of the thick band of tissue that connects the calf muscle to the heel and helps with nearly any kind of foot movement. The Achilles tendon can be partially or completely torn and most commonly occurs as a result of repeated stress on the tendon.

Most Achilles tendon injuries require surgery to reattach the tendon and allow the patient to resume normal foot function. Nonsurgical treatment is only reserved for the mildest of cases or for patients who lead a sedentary life. Until surgery is performed, patients will likely suffer from recurring (chronic) tears.

During the Achilles tendon repair procedure, an incision is made along the back of the ankle to access the tendon. The torn ends are reattached using strong sutures that are placed on both ends. The sutures are tied together and the incision is then closed.

After surgery, patients will need to undergo six to eight weeks of physical therapy while the foot heals in a walking boot or cast. The foot may be positioned differently within the cast as healing progresses to maximize movement.

Jones Fractures

A Jones fracture involves an injury to the fifth metatarsal bone of the foot, which is the bone at the base of the small toe. It was named for Sir Robert Jones, who first described the fracture in 1902. This type of injury most often occurs as a result of an ankle sprain or other type of inversion foot injury, and not as a result of direct impact to the area. A Jones fracture may also be caused by a stress or fatigue fracture.
Patients with a Jones fracture may experience pain on the middle and outside of their foot, along with swelling and difficulty walking. Treatment usually requires immobilizing the area with a cast and using crutches to avoid putting weight on the bone. If a Jones fracture does not heal properly, it can become a chronic condition and may require surgery to repair the fracture and keep the bone in place with a screw or bone graft. Surgery may be performed as the initial treatment option for competitive athletes or other patients who require a speedy healing period.