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Ankle Sprain / Ligament Tear:

Rehabilitation vs. Surgical Repair

An ankle sprain is an injury to the ligaments that hold together the bones above and below the ankle joint. The main ligaments are just below the bone bumps on the inner and outer side of the ankle. The injury can occur to the inner and outer ligaments but most of the time the injury occurs to the outer ligaments. The side of the injury depends on what direction the foot was in when the injury occurred. Fractures and cartilage damage can occur with these injuries, so X-rays and other imaging studies are important. Without proper immediate care, the injury will not heal properly risking future ankle sprains.

 

This condition is associated with other foot/ankle conditions such as arthritis, unstable ankles.

 

What is an Ankle sprain

Surgical Treatment for Severe Ankle Sprain, Ligament Tear

In this video, Dr Moore explains how the Arthrex Internal Brace and its equipment is designed to reinforce the anterior talofibular ligament after the Modified Brostrom procedure.

Ankle Arthrocope:

Ankle Stabilization:

This procedure is the gold standard for diagnosing problems within the ankle joint. It allows a small camera to go into the ankle through two small 1 cm incisions to the front of the ankle. Any damage to the ankle joint cartilage and inner joint wall lining is cleaned up and removed. Walking in a removable cast is allowed after 3 to 14 days.

 

Ankle Stabilization: This procedure is used to fix the weak or loose ankle ligaments. The incision is 4 to 5 cm on the outer part of the foot near the ankle. The ligaments are repaired (sometimes by adding a ligament graft) with strong suture. After 48 to 72 hours of non weight bearing, protected weight bearing in a cast can start in 3 to 4 weeks after the surgery.

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Ankle Sprain / Ligament Tear CARE TESTIMONIAL

Mr. Cook had a history of ankle sprains and an arthroscopic examination is common for this type of patient to repair internal cartilage damage. The cartilage damage (common with sprains) causes pain inside of the ankle with activity which then tells the body to shut down the leg muscles, thus the ankle "giving out" more frequently. With the addition of a torn ligament found on MRI, he had the choice to have it repaired at the same time as the arthroscopic examination or at a later time.

ANKLE SPRAIN: MAINTENANCE Care

Medications:

Ice:

Protection:

Physical Therapy:

Injections:

Oral anti-inflammatory medication can help reduce symptoms and swelling that comes after the injury.

 

Physical therapy with insulated cold packs applied on and off of the injury site for the first 72 hours helps to reduce swelling and discomfort. Alternating application of warmth and coolness in 15 to 20 minute intervals help to resolve the swelling after 72 hours after the injury.

 

It is most important to apply a cast around the joint to maintain the proper position when healing for 3 to 4 weeks so that the ligaments do not heal in a loose position. The cast can be applied in one piece or as a removable model with Velcro straps.

 

The ankle joint can become tight during the casting period. Physical therapy is an important first step once the cast comes off to regain proper motion in the joint. A lace up leather ankle brace is recommended during this transition period for the next 2 to 4 weeks. Strengthening the muscle tendons around the inner and outer ankle help to secure the joint in place. Most importantly, exercises that restore balance are the best way to prevent future sprains once the injured ligaments are in the last stages of proper healing.

 

Pain in the ankle joint is most effectively resolved by medicines that stop the pain and inflammation of the irritated or damaged cushion lining inside the joint.

 

Talk to an expert

Our doctors have extended specialist medical training focused on the foot, ankle and lower leg.   We are board-certified surgeons and experts in delivering care for complex foot and ankle disorders as well as cosmetic or reconstructive procedures and problems related to sports injuries and other medical conditions.

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