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Lateral Ankle Ligament Surgery

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Ligaments are bands of stretchy tissues that connect bones with other bones and also stabilize joints. There are several ligaments that surround the ankle-supporting and stabilizing this hinge joint which is responsible for up-and-down and side-to-side foot movements.

When one or more of the ankle’s lateral (outside) ligaments become overly stretched or torn, a sprained ankle occurs. Because of limited blood supply to ligaments, they are slower to heal than tendons and muscles. An improperly healed ankle sprain, certain medical or foot conditions, or genetics can increase the likelihood of more ankle sprains-which further loosen the ligaments and may lead to chronic ankle instability.

Lateral ankle ligament surgery is typically an outpatient procedure which can tighten up the ligaments on the outside of the ankle to restore normal stability and remove feelings of weakness and pain.

There are different techniques a podiatric surgeon may use during lateral ankle ligament surgery, including a modified Bröstrom procedure which tightens the ligaments by reattaching them onto the fibula bone and stitching other tissues over to strengthen the repair. Alternatively, a tendon may be weaved into the ankle bones to replace a damaged ligament.

After surgery, a splint or cast may be placed around the ankle for two weeks to help stabilize and heal it. Placing weight on the ankle will be gradual, and may not be allowed before six weeks. A removable walking boot may be introduced at that time, followed by an ankle brace. In time, physical therapy may be prescribed to slowly strengthen the ankle, and complete recovery may take 6-12 months.

If you have ankle instability that has not responded to more conservative treatment methods, talk to your podiatrist to see if you might be a good candidate for lateral ankle ligament surgery.

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