Ankle Arthroscopy Information

Ankle Arthroscopy is an excellent minimally invasive operation that allows thorough visualisation of the ankle joint useful for diagnosing and addressing various pathology inside and outside the ankle joint.

Arthroscopy is a surgical procedure in which an arthroscope is inserted into a joint. An arthroscope is a small fibre-optic telescope that can be inserted into a joint to evaluate and treat a variety of conditions. A camera is attached to the arthroscope and the picture is displayed on a TV monitor.

Most arthroscopic surgery is performed as day surgery and is usually done under general anaesthesia. Its benefits include:

  • Smaller incisions
  • Faster healing time
  • A more rapid recovery and return to activities
  • Minimal scarring


Ankle Conditions Treatable Using Arthroscopy

Several injuries and conditions can be treated with both arthroscopy on its own and as a combination of arthroscopy and conventional surgery.  

The most frequently treated ankle conditions using arthroscopy include:

  • Arthritis and cartilage damage. Ankle arthroscopy can offer a minimally invasive way to perform an ankle fusion.
  • Fractures. To help ensure normal alignment of bone and cartilage, fracture repair may be performed using both arthroscopy along with open techniques. Arthroscopy can also be used to identify cartilage injuries inside the ankle.
  • Synovitis, inflamed lining (synovium) of the ankle which results in pain and swelling.
  • Acute and chronic injury.
  • Loose bodies of bone and cartilage which can cause clicking and catching in the ankle joint.
  • Instability of the ankle. Ligaments surrounding the ankle joint can become stretched and lead to the feeling of the ankle giving way. These ligaments can be tightened using arthroscopy.
  • Anterior ankle impingement. This is often referred to as athlete’s or footballer’s ankle and occurs when the bone or soft tissue at the front of the ankle joint becomes inflamed. Using arthroscopy, inflamed tissue and bone spurs can be shaved away.
  • Posterior ankle impingement. This occurs when the soft tissue at the back of the ankle becomes inflamed and makes pointing the foot down painful. This condition is commonly seen in dancers. The tissue causing the inflammation and pain can be removed using arthroscopy.
  • Unexplained ankle symptoms. Occasionally patients develop symptoms that are unexplained using other diagnostic techniques. Since arthroscopy provides access to look directly into the joint, these unexplained symptoms and problems can be identified.


Surgical Procedure 

Ankle arthroscopy is generally only a day surgery. The patient presents at the hospital the day of the surgery and then leaves within a few hours of having surgery.

Arthroscopy is usually performed under a general or regional anaesthetic. The insertion point is through two or more cuts less than 1cm long through which a camera or telescope camera along with associated instruments are inserted to diagnose and treat pathology inside the ankle.