Who does it affect?
Usually follows an injury or repetitive injuries
to the ankle. Ligaments on the outside of the ankle may be ruptured or
Recurrent instability (going over) on the ankle.
In a few cases further damage may occur within the ankle causing pain.
In the long term repetitive episodes of instability can lead to early
arthritis within the ankle.
An X-ray will indicate whether there is any
further damage within the ankle or any evidence of early arthritis. MRI
scan may be required to confirm the full extent of the ligamentous
damage at the ankle.
Initially rest, ice, compression and elevation.
Later physiotherapy with strengthening exercises. Occasionally
supervised strapping or use of a brace may be required.
If your surgeon feels there is damage within the
ankle then initially an arthroscopy of the ankle would be required. If
however, there is no damage to the ankle then should non-operative
treatment as outlined above fails, then surgery to reconstruct the
ligaments and stabilise the ankle would be required.
Surgery is performed under a general anaesthetic
or spinal anaesthesia. A tourniquet is used, which is like a blood
pressure cuff around the upper thigh to prevent blood from obscuring the
surgeonís view. In some cases the torn ligament can be repaired, but in
other cases it cannot, and an adjacent tendon has to be used to
reconstruct the torn ligament. The skin is sutured and an immobilising
plaster of paris slab is applied. Patients are allowed to weight bear
immediately with the protection of crutches.