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What is unstable ankle surgery?

The operation of an unstable ankle is necessary in case of ligament deficit. Julien Lopez takes care of stabilizing your ankle. People with an unstable ankle condition feel that their ankle is slipping when they walk. The causes of instability are multiple. It usually occurs after a badly treated sprain or poor ligament healing. Adequate treatment when there is a ligament deficiency and alternative treatments do not work, is surgery. A foot surgeon offers this type of surgery and will accompany you until your complete recovery.

Why use surgery for an unstable ankle?

Surgery for an unstable ankle is common. Several signals can detect this pathology. Firstly, if you are the victim of repeated sprains, if you have the feeling that your ankle is loosening or a feeling of insecurity in hilly or even flat terrain, then your ligaments may have deteriorated. The symptoms of an unstable ankle can also be pain in this area, swelling after physical exertion or a feeling of blockage.

When instability is chronic, the major risk if not treated, is wear and tear of the ankle joint and the onset of osteoarthritis after a few years. Painful and limiting the mobility of the ankle, osteoarthritis often leads to surgery for the installation of a prosthesis replacing the joint for example. It is therefore essential when the situation requires surgery. The intervention for lateral (external) ankle instability is the most common. However, there may be internal and previous instabilities. To confirm the presence of this condition of the back foot, a ligament assessment is necessary by performing various examinations. Several X-ray images of the ankle are needed, using an arthroscanner or even an MRI to know the state of the cartilage of the ankle joint, possibly detecting the presence of nascent osteoarthritis and studying the ligament structures.

Surgery for ankle instability: unfolding and convalescence

Surgery for ankle instability is called a ligamentoplasty. It consists of reinserting ligament beams and fortifying them. For this, the detached beams are hung up by anchors and reinforced by the addition of reinforcements taken at the expense of the frondiforme ligament and perisote (double plastia). The procedure lasts on average 1 hour and can be performed under general or loco-regional anesthesia. At the end of the operation, a boot is set up for a 3 week period with full support. Surgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis.

From the first day, walking can be resumed with crutches. It is forbidden to support your leg without the boot and anticoagulants are necessary for 3 weeks to avoid the risk of phlebitis. Also make sure to regularly raise the foot to fight against the formation of post-operative swelling. Rehabilitation sessions are prescribed to the patient. Resumption of sport, can only start from 2 months onwards for cycling and swimming. For other sports, 4 to 6 months will be necessary before starting the practice again or even 7 months in case of high level athletes, depending on the sport. Julien Lopez, surgeon specialist of the foot and ankle, who is in charge from diagnosis to surgery and during post-operative phase. Surgical treatment of chronic ankle instability is common and the results are very encouraging. The ankle regains its stability, mobility and muscle strength after a few months. As a sportsman, you can easily regain your previous level.

What solutions for an unstable non-surgical ankle?

Solutions for an unstable ankle are essentially surgical to prevent ankle osteoarthritis. Indeed, the only treatment to deal with ankle instability is sometimes surgery. To avoid this, care must be taken to treat a sprain properly when it occurs. Even if the immobilization is disabling, it must be respected: with a splint or plaster for the most serious. Physiotherapy sessions are then recommended to strengthen the muscles and the proprioceptive reflex loop. The use of insoles can also be prescribed to correct defects in the axis of the rear foot, which can also lead to instability of the ankle (example of the back foot monitor).

In case of persistent painful ankle instability, infiltrations are sometimes used to limit pain and taking painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs can be considered. The use of physiotherapy usually completes the treatment, but it will not heal the ligaments if they are too damaged. Surgery should then be considered if the symptoms persist despite the medical treatment. It is always better to operate on an unstable ankle that is not painful and re-educated beforehand.