You have probably heard of, or know someone who has had, a knee or shoulder arthroscopy or “scope.” What you may not know is that we can also perform arthroscopy of the ankle. This can be a quite useful procedure for some common ailments of the ankle. This is frequently performed as an outpatient procedure with a few small incisions.
During ankle arthroscopy a small incision about ¼” long is made over the front of the ankle. This small incision allows us to place the camera into the ankle joint and see the cartilage covering the tibia, talus and fibula (the bones that make up the ankle joint). We then make a second 1 /4“ incision that allow us to insert a second tool such as a probe or motorized shaver that we can use to assess and clean up damaged tissue. Being able to visualize the ankle joint from the inside out allows us to treat some conditions with much smaller incisions than would be possible otherwise.
We commonly clean up damaged cartilage or inflammation of the lining of the joint through the ankle scope. We can also perform procedures such as micro-fracture or grafting which can help stimulate healing of damaged cartilage. Recently, we have been using ankle arthroscopy to prepare the ankle joint for fusion by scraping out any remaining cartilage. This has been incredibly helpful because it allows us to perform an ankle fusion procedure through 4 or 5 small incisions instead of 1 or 2 quite large incisions. This has resulted in lower levels of pain and fewer issues with wound healing.
If you have been having problems with your ankle, whether it is new or quite old, come see me at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates. We have many options both surgical and nonsurgical for getting you back on your feet… back to work… back in the game… back to life.
For an appointment with Dr. Eric James, orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon, call 941-951-2663.
For more detailed information on foot and ankle arthroscopy, check out this excellent article at the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society website.