The ankle is among the most commonly injured joint. Ankle injuries may result from performance or practice in athletics, or simply a misstep causing a twist or turn in the ankle joint. The weight of the body can be so forceful in such cases, that it can lead to a rupture or partial tearing of the vital ligaments that provide stability to this weight bearing joint.
While many of the ankle injuries will heal on their own with a few weeks of rest and protection from further damage, some can be severe enough to make the ankle unstable. If left untreated, such conditions can lead to progressive damage of the cartilage joint surface, or cause hindrance in the patient’s future sports and physical activities.
Treating Minor Sprains
Minor sprains or injuries to the ankle can be identified with symptoms such as pain, discomfort and swelling along either side of the joint, and occasional clicking or popping with certain motions. The ankle should be immobilized and proper rest should be given to it until the healing is complete.
However, the challenge here is that patients may ignore the condition and resume their activities with incomplete healing of the torn or stretched ligament. This can make the ankle vulnerable for future. Ankle supports or taping may help in case of minor sprains.
Medication and Physical Therapy
In case of moderate ankle injuries, medications may be used to reduce inflammation, but this will not correct the underlying problem. Physical therapy exercises to improve motion and strength may be used along with training to balance the muscle forces about the ankle. Board certified orthopedic surgeons Dr. Thomas and Dr. Bigler receive patients from Las Vegas, Nevada, and nearby areas for various types of ankle injuries.
In more severe or refractory cases, the damaged ankle joint surface must be treated with arthroscopic surgery. It will repair the joint as well as support the treatment of lax or insufficient ligament. Post-traumatic arthritis resulting from past ankle injuries can also be treated with arthroscopic surgery. More complicated injuries may require joint altering procedures such as joint replacement or fusions.
Arthroscopy procedure involves the placement of a tiny arthroscope into the joint through a small incision. A micro camera will transmit the image of the underlying structures to a monitor for targeted surgery in a minimally invasive way. Another small incision may be placed to insert other instruments and perform the repair procedure.
An arthroscopic surgery for the ankle will usually be performed as an outpatient procedure at a surgical facility. Light general or local anesthesia is administered. Two or three incisions of the size of a buttonhole will be placed for the insertion of the arthroscope and special instruments to perform the repair. Once the repair is completed, the surgeon will close the incisions with sutures and apply a dressing.
If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about the Knee and Shoulder Institute procedures & treatments performed by Las Vegas, Nevada board certified surgeons Steven C. Thomas, MD and Gregory T. Bigler, MD. call (702) 933-9393; Physical Therapy (702) 933-9394