Ankle Injury Complications

Patients who develop arthritis as a result of an ankle injury generally receive anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve swelling and pain. However, the degenerative nature of the condition sometimes results in the need for surgery.

Surgery may involve trimming away damaged synovial tissue, smoothing out rough-worn cartilage, and removing fragments of cartilage or bone from the joint. Whenever possible, the procedure is performed arthroscopically, using a narrow, flexible, fiber-optic viewing tube called an arthroscope that enables the surgeon to see inside ankle and work with precision.

In severe arthritic conditions resulting from multiple fractures, bone fusion may be performed. Affected joints are fastened together with surgical screws or rods so they eventually grow together and become one larger bone. This procedure eliminates the joint and the motion that causes the pain. However, the patient is left with a noticeably stiff-legged gait. Trading limited mobility for pain reduction is usually a last resort.

Publication Review By: Hai-En Peng, D.P.M.

Published: 31 Dec 1999

Last Modified: 01 Sep 2015