Ankle Arthroscopy Surgery

What is ankle arthroscopy, and how is it performed??

If you are curious about ankle arthroscopy, schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified foot and ankle specialists at OrthoNeuro. We have many convenient locations throughout Greater Columbus. 

Best of all, most patients can be seen within 24 hours of making an appointment. Contact us today!

What Is Ankle Arthroscopy?

Ankle arthroscopy is a type of ankle surgery that uses a small surgical camera and surgical tools through tiny incisions. This minimally invasive surgical procedure is used to treat chronic ankle pain or loss of function in the ankle due to damaged cartilage, ligaments, or bone spurs. 

This damage can be the result of previous injuries (such as repeated ankle sprains or an ankle fracture) or arthritis and can limit day-to-day mobility.

Arthroscopic surgery can have a quicker recovery time, less scarring, and fewer complications than traditional open surgery.

What Conditions Does Ankle Arthroscopy Treat?

Ankle arthroscopy is an effective, minimally invasive surgery that can treat a wide range of ankle disorders, including the following:

  • Ankle Instability: Your ankle joint can be unstable due to things like a bone deformity (torn ligaments). Your surgeon can sometimes repair the cause of your instability through arthroscopy.
  • Anterior ankle impingement: This condition is where the soft tissue or bone at the front of the ankle becomes compressed in the front of the ankle joint. This is due to swelling through overuse.
  • Osteochondral Lesions (OCL): Damaged cartilage and bone from the talus bone can be removed through arthroscopy.
  • Posterior ankle impingement: This condition is like the previous one but at the back of the ankle joint.
  • Removing pieces of cartilage, bone, or scar tissue: Injuries can damage your bones or cartilage, or cause pieces to loosen. This can cause pain inside your ankle joint. Scar tissue can also form inside your joint during the healing process.
  • Torn ligaments: If ligaments tear off the bone, they can usually be repaired through arthroscopy.

Candidates for Ankle Arthroscopy

You may be a good candidate for ankle arthroscopy if you have ankle pain or any other unexplained ankle symptoms that haven’t responded to non-surgical treatments.

How Is Ankle Arthroscopy Performed?

At OrthoNeuro, ankle arthroscopy is performed as an outpatient procedure, so you are able to return home the same day as your procedure.

The procedure goes as follows:

  • Several small incisions are made in the area of the ankle.
  • Small surgical tools and a surgical camera are inserted into the ankle joint.
  • The ankle is explored, and damaged cartilage or bone spurs are trimmed or removed.
  • If there is damage to the ligaments, the ligament may be repaired with sutures and/or small anchors during the procedure.
  • The incision is then closed with small sutures or bandages. Total surgical time is usually less than 1 hour, and you are able to return home shortly after the procedure.

Benefits of Ankle Arthroscopy

Arthroscopic surgery has many benefits over open ankle surgery. Because the procedure is minimally invasive, using only small incisions, you will benefit in the following ways:

  • A faster recovery time
  • Less pain
  • Minimal blood loss
  • Less scarring
  • Lower risk of complications

Ankle Arthroscopy Risks

Patients undergoing ankle arthroscopy may be exposed to the following risks:

  • Allergic reaction to anesthesia
  • Damage to the soft tissue lining surrounding your ankle, foot, and leg
  • Blood clots, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Nerve damage (numbness or tingling in your ankle and foot)
  • Excessive bleeding or swelling
  • Infections
  • A need for further surgery if your original issues aren’t fully corrected

How Long Does it Take to Recover From an Ankle Arthroscopy?

Recovery time from ankle arthroscopy will depend on the reason for your surgery and how quickly you regain your strength, stability, and range of motion. Recovery will usually take a few months.

During the early stages of recovery, you may need to use a splint or crutches to assist with walking. A program of physical therapy may also help you to get your ankle back to its former strength and mobility.

You should be able to return to playing sports within a few months after surgery if your recovery goes well.

Make an Appointment with an OrthoNeuro Specialist Today!

If you have been considering an ankle arthroscopy, schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified specialists at OrthoNeuro today! We have multiple locations throughout Columbus, OH for your convenience.

Our surgeons can also perform ankle fusion if needed. Give us a call today and allow yourself to get mobile as soon as possible!

Medically reviewed by Jeffrey E. Gittins, D.O.

Foot, Ankle, and Podiatry Specialists


““Very nice staff. They got me in and out quickly, had to get surgery, and they made sure that was all set up and aftercare was clear.“
Dena T.