Ankle Arthritis Treatments: What Is Arthroscopic Surgery?

December 21, 2021
Ankle Arthritis Treatments: What Is Arthroscopic Surgery?

If you are suffering from ankle arthritis, your doctor may have suggested arthroscopic surgery. If you’re still unclear about what it is and how it may help, we’re here to help. Let’s take a closer look at what to expect while undergoing an arthroscopy--and its numerous benefits.

What Is Arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure in which doctors make small incisions near a particular joint to examine, diagnose, and treat problems within the joint. It is a short, minor surgery that takes place in an outpatient treatment facility, and patients typically leave the same day. It can be performed on several body parts, such as the knee, shoulder, or ankle. 

Doctors usually administer anesthesia before surgery and numb the area. They will then use an arthroscope, a small telescope with a camera lens and a light, to determine the severity of the injury and how they might repair the damage. Then, if surgery is necessary, these repairs often occur immediately after the arthroscopy--while the patient is still under anesthesia.

Who Should Consider Ankle Arthroscopy?

Those who have rheumatoid arthritis in the ankle can benefit from an ankle arthroscopy. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disabling autoimmune disease that causes pain, swelling, and inflammation in the joints. While there is no cure for this disease, an arthroscopy can help minimize pain and improve function. For example, in ankle arthroscopy, a doctor may surgically fuse a joint or remove inflamed joint tissue. 

Those suffering from osteochondral injuries, osteoarthritis, or ankle fractures, sprains, or instability may also benefit from an ankle arthroscopy. It can also treat cartilage damage, posterior ankle pain, and bone spurs.

What to Expect in an Ankle Arthroscopy

Patients undergoing ankle arthroscopy surgery will have minuscule incisions made in the ankle joint to examine the area and determine if surgery is necessary. The doctor may need to inspect or repair ligaments, remove bone or tissue (which often helps arthritis patients reduce pain in the area), or perform complete ankle fusion surgery. 

Recovery from an Ankle Arthroscopy

There may be some minor pain and swelling in the joint directly after ankle arthroscopy. Doctors typically prescribe medication to ease the pain. They may suggest applying ice on the area and keeping your leg elevated above your heart to reduce swelling. You may need crutches or an ankle splint to relieve pressure on the site during your recovery. Your doctor may also suggest specific exercises and physical rehabilitation to strengthen your ankle as you heal. Pain levels should lessen significantly after about a week. You should allow a couple of weeks of recovery before normal usage of your foot and at least 4-6 weeks before any intensive use, like participation in sports.

Benefits of Arthroscopy

Besides giving your doctor a better understanding of your joint problems, arthroscopy can significantly reduce inflammation and pain in the ankle. It is a highly recommended method of treatment for acute or chronic injuries and different types of arthritis. Arthroscopy can be more appropriate than traditional open surgery because it creates smaller incisions; therefore, it takes less time to heal, leaves less scarring, and has a lower infection rate. You will also experience less pain after the surgery and more minor tissue trauma than in traditional open surgery.

Diablo Foot and Ankle

For more information on ankle arthritis treatment, visit Diablo Foot & Ankle. We are dedicated to giving patients less pain and a better quality of life through quality treatment and care. Give us a call today at (925) 464-1982 to set up an appointment and start your journey toward recovery.