Several types of common ankle surgery are provided based on the type of injury or condition. The type of surgery often will depend on the severity of the condition, age and activity level of the patient.
According to the Southern California Orthopedic Institute, the ankle is a complex ankle joint and consists of three bones, including the tibia, fibula and talus. The ankle joints help to maintain the motion of the foot and, if damaged, can greatly affect your stability and balance of the ankle.
Debridement is a type of ankle surgery used to relieve pain from osteoarthritis. This is a minimally invasive ankle surgery that works by removing or cleaning cartilage surrounding the joint of the ankle. The surgeon uses a small instrument called an arthroscope, which makes incisions and has a camera to view the inside of the ankle.
Ankle fusion is an ankle surgery that is recommended for severe osteoarthritis, misalignment, infections or other serious problems. Ankle fusion may be provided for those who want to return to high impact activities or sports. A surgeon places pins or plates inside the ankle joint to hold it together, so as it heals, it creates one bone. If the joint fails to fuse, the hardware may break.
Arthroplasty, also called ankle replacement, is often used for patients who want to avoid high-impact sports and who have an arthritic condition or a prior trauma, such as a broken ankle. A surgeon removes the damaged joint and replaces it with an artificial joint.
Ankle surgery is not without risk, including allergic reactions to anesthesia or medication, problems with bleeding and clots, infection, nerve damage, weakness of the ankle, instability, dislocation and damage to the blood vessels.
As with any surgery, recovery from an ankle surgery is often painful. A physician will probably prescribe pain relievers after you are released from the hospital. It is often beneficial to keep your foot elevated for the first few weeks after an ankle surgery to reduce swelling and inflammation. After you can bear weight, a doctor will probably recommend that you participate in a physical-therapy program to restore strength and range of motion.