An ankle sprain is a common injury that occurs when the ankle is twisted or turned, and results in torn ligaments within the joint. This injury often causes pain, swelling and bruising, and if it does not heal properly, it may lead to chronic ankle instability or repeated ankle sprains. Ankle ligament reconstruction is a procedure commonly performed on patients experiencing chronic ankle instability and repeated ankles sprains. It is effective in repairing torn ligaments, tightening loosened ligaments and improving the overall stability of the joint.
The Ankle Ligament Reconstruction Procedure
The ankle ligament reconstruction procedure is performed on an outpatient basis while the patient is sedated under general anesthesia. Different techniques may be used by the surgeon, depending on the condition of the ankle. During the procedure, torn ligaments may be repaired with stitches or sutures, two ligaments may be reattached, or part of a lateral tendon around the ankle may be used to repair the torn ligament. After the procedure is complete, a splint or cast is applied to the ankle. This procedure may take up to 2 hours to perform.
Risks of Ankle Ligament Reconstruction
As with any surgery, there are possible complications associated with ankle ligament reconstruction which may include:
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Nerve damage
After surgery, blood clots within the veins of the legs may also occur.
Recovery from Ankle Ligament Reconstruction
After surgery, patients will use crutches for up to two weeks. After this time, they may begin walking in a removable walking boot. Physical therapy is a crucial part of the healing process, and usually begins after about six weeks. Physical therapy treatments focus on improving range of motion without putting excessive strain on the healing tendons. Muscle-stengthening exercises and range of motion exercises may all be used to increase movement and mobility.
Most patients fully recover from ankle ligament reconstruction after three to four months, and at that time they can resume all regular activities including running and exercise.