Ankle Arthroscopy – Melbourne
Ankle Arthroscopy – A Patient’s Guide
Mr Troy Keith MBBS (Hons), FRACS (Orth), FAOrthA
Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Surgeon
What is an ankle arthroscopy
Ankle Arthroscopy or “key hole surgery” is performed under a general anaesthetic either as a day-surgery or an overnight hospital stay.
We will advise you as to which is more appropriate for you.
During the surgery an arthroscope (a small telescope approximately three or four millimeters in diameter) is inserted into the ankle through two small puncture wounds.
This allows your surgeon to see and operate inside the joint to clean up any damaged cartilage, and to remove bony spurs or inflamed soft tissue.
After the operation:
After your operation you will have a padded bandage or orthotic boot on your ankle. It is important to start moving your ankle as soon as you
feel comfortable to prevent your ankle becoming stiff and the muscles weakening.
You will not harm your ankle by gently moving it within
the confines of the bandage or coming out of the boot.
Before going home, you will be seen by a physiotherapist who will explain the exercises and check that you are walking safely using crutches. The exercises are designed to help you regain full range of movement and muscle strength in your ankle.
You are allowed to weight bear as tolerated on your ankle and you should try to walk as normally as possible.
Leave the dressing undisturbed until your follow up appointment, which is normally about two weeks after your surgery. The puncture wounds will have a dissolvable stitch and steristrip tape keeping the wound edges together.
After the surgery your ankle may be painful and swollen. This is normal and can be treated with regular pain relief such as ibuprofen for the first few days.
You will be advised to wear a compression bandage or flight sock after your initial follow up appointment. Wear it for support during the day but take it off at night.
Applying ice packs twice a day for ten minutes (protect the skin with a damp towel) will also help to reduce the swelling.
When you are resting you should keep your leg elevated on a stool or chair, to help keep the swelling down. It will take at least three to four weeks to recover if a soft tissue procedure has been performed and twice this time if bone fragments have been removed.
Returning to work
You may return to work when your ankle feels comfortable and you are confident your ankle will be able to stand the stresses of your daily working activities.
If you have an office type job you should be able to return to work within seven to ten days; if your job is strenuous and involves a lot of walking then you will probably need a minimum of two to three weeks off work.
Driving is usually possible after your initial follow up when your ankle is feeling comfortable – Please confirm with your doctor before driving. Make sure you can operate the pedals without pain.
Strenuous physical activity and sport can be resumed when your ankle is feeling strong, comfortable and no longer swollen, usually four to six weeks after your operation, but this depends on the type of surgery that has been performed. Gradually increase your level of activity before returning to sport.
Ankle Arthroscopy Melbourne – Possible complications
The success rate of surgery depends on the condition that is being operated on. Success rates can vary from 60 to 95%. Potential complications may include:
- Numbness or tingling on the top of the foot as a consequence of damage to small nerves in the skin. Usually this is temporary, but sometimes it can give rise to a permanently numb or sensitised area
- Occasionally surgery is required to remove a damaged nerve (neuroma).
Ankle Arthroscopy Melbourne
Mr Troy Keith see patients from all over Melbourne in relation to ankle injuries. If deemed necessary Mr Keith may recommend an ankle arthroscope to help diagnose potential causes of pain. Mr Keith consults at the following locations in Melbourne including Armadale, Malvern, Richmond, Heidelberg and Shepparton in country Victoria.