Ankle Surgery: What You Should Know and Why It Matters?

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Understanding what ankle surgery entails can be challenging for patients. The terminology and variety of procedures can be confusing. Understanding the different types of ankle surgery will help you decide which method best addresses your needs and offers the greatest chance of success. Whether you have torn ligaments, broken bones, or a combination of factors preventing you from living an active lifestyle, various methods are available to treat this area of your body. Here we explain all there is to know about ankle surgery.

The main purpose of ankle surgery is to repair or reconstruct damaged ligaments and other structures in the foot and ankle. These can include the bones, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage in the ankle. While there are many different types of ankle surgery in Houston, all are done under general anesthesia. Some surgeries are done on an outpatient basis, while others require an overnight stay. An ankle injury can lead to arthritis over time, so treating it as soon as possible is important.


What is Ankle Surgery?

Ankle surgery is a procedure that treats an injury to the bones, ligaments, and other soft tissue in the ankle. The bones in the ankle are held together by soft tissue like ligaments and cartilage. When one of these structures is damaged, it can cause instability in the ankle joint. Unlike the knee, which is held together by a large, strong ligament, the ankle is a smaller joint that relies on a combination of ligaments, muscles, and bones to stay together. Ankle instability can lead to long-term pain and arthritis in the ankle joint if left untreated. This is why the ankle is at a higher risk of injury in the first place and why it’s important to have the soft tissue repaired as soon as possible after the damage occurs.


Tendon Repair

Tendon repair is a procedure that treats an injury to a tendon, which is a type of soft tissue that connects muscles to bones. A tear or rupture of a tendon can lead to pain, swelling, and decreased mobility in the ankle. A surgeon will examine the tendon to find the extent of the injury. They will decide if the tendon can heal on its own or if surgery is needed to repair the tendon. The type of surgery used depends on the location and severity of the tear. This procedure also involves making an incision and removing any damaged tissue, followed by a thorough cleaning of the site. Once the area is clean, the surgeon will suture (sew) the torn ends of the tendon back together, using stitches that are designed to dissolve after healing is complete. The incision is closed with stitches or surgical staples, and a dressing is applied. The patient will be given instructions on caring for the incision site and keeping the leg elevated as much as possible.


Rotational Foot Reconstruction

Rotational foot reconstruction aims to repair a broken bone in danger of shifting out of place. The surgical procedure requires an incision to be made in one of the bones in the foot. After the fracture has been realigned, the surgeon will use plates, screws, and wires to hold the pieces of the broken bone in place while they heal. After the operation, a cast or a splint will be applied to the foot, followed by physical therapy to prevent scarring, swelling, and stiffness. By carefully monitoring the progress of your foot, your physician can evaluate when it is safe to remove the cast or splint and help you avoid the long-term effects of arthritis.


Ankle Fusion

Ankle fusion surgery treats chronic ankle instability caused by a sprain or fracture. This surgery treats cases that do

not respond to physical therapy. During surgery, the surgeon removes any damaged tissue and fuses the bones to create a strong, stable joint. This procedure is often used for people with arthritis in the joint and athletes who have had a traumatic injury to the joint. The process requires cutting the anklebones, removing some bone tissue and then fusing the bones with metal hardware. Once the bones are connected, the patient may be given a cast or brace to wear for a few weeks while the ankle heals. The patient may also be given crutches while the ankle heals.





Ankle Replacement

An ankle replacement is a procedure that replaces the damaged joint with a metal implant. This surgery is used if the ankle is severely arthritic or has been damaged by a fracture. This complex operation should only be performed by a surgeon with experience in this type of procedure. A surgeon should only perform this complex operation that has experience in this type of procedure. In this procedure, the surgeon will replace the damaged joint with a metal implant that mimics the function of the ankle. Following the process, the patient will be given crutches or a walker and need to stay off the foot to prevent swelling and the implant from moving out of place. Once the ankle has healed, the surgeon may prescribe physical therapy to regain strength in the muscles around the ankle.


Final Take

Ankle surgery can be tricky to recover from, but it’s important to recognize that it is a necessary part of treatment for many types of ankle injuries. Your foot and ankle are subjected to a lot of stress daily, which is why injuries are common in this area. If you have been diagnosed with a tear, fracture, arthritis, or other problem that can be treated with surgery, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible. It’s also important to recognize when it’s time to see a doctor and when it’s time to schedule surgery.

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