In addition to being painful, ankle pain can also be extremely frustrating. There are many activities that require you to lift your feet off the ground, from dancing to basketball—and if you have flat feet or weak arches, your odds of developing sprained ankles or recovering from a sprain are even greater. In fact, about 15% of all acute ankle sprains account for about 25% of all sports-related injuries.
Ankle surgery may be required in some cases—particularly if you’re over the age of 45 years and have had multiple sprain injuries, but it’s best to avoid this situation as much as possible. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can strengthen your ankles and reduce your risk. Here is everything you need to know about the different types of ankle surgery and how to recover after having it done by an ankle surgery specialist in Houston.
What is Ankle Surgery?
Ankle surgery is performed to correct a deformity in the ankle joint, or to relieve pain or discomfort caused by arthritis. The surgery may also be performed to correct a congenital abnormality, such as a bunion (a bump on the joint caused by pushing the joint towards the outside). There are a few different types of ankle surgery, such as: – An ankle fusion: In this procedure, the surgeon removes the joint’s cartilage and then fuses the bones together with a plate and screws. The goal of this surgery is to stop pain from coming from the joint, as well as to stop-motion from the joint.
The procedure can be done on one or both ankles. -An ankle rotator-reinforcement procedure (AR): In this surgery, the surgeon reinforces the muscles and tendons around the ankle joint to prevent and treat a condition known as ankle equinovarus (where the ankle is twisted inwards). -An ankle varus reinforcement procedure (AVR): This surgery is almost the same as the above. Again, the goal is to treat and prevent equinovarus. -Presurgical weakening of the ankle muscles (PSWM): In this procedure, the surgeon weakens the ankle muscles through either burning or cutting the muscle. This is done to reduce the pain from arthritis or from an injury that has caused an imbalance in the joint.
Ankle fusions are used to treat painful joint degeneration, particularly when there are no other treatment options available. The surgeon removes the joint’s cartilage and then fuses the bones together with a plate and screws. The goal of this surgery is to stop pain from coming from the joint, as well as to stop-motion from the joint. The surgery can be done on one or both ankles. If both ankles are fused, they are usually fused at the same time. Fusion surgery is done under general anesthesia and takes about two hours. Your doctor will put your ankle in a cast or brace after surgery, depending on the type of surgery. After surgery, you will likely be in the hospital for two to three days.
Ankle Rotator Reinforcement (AR)
In this surgery, the surgeon reinforces the muscles and tendons around the ankle joint to prevent and treat a condition known as ankle equinovarus. Rotator reinforcement surgery can be done on both the ankle and the other foot. This surgery is done to treat equinovarus in the ankle joint, as well as a condition known as “high-inside ankle equinovarus.” With equinovarus, the foot is turned inwards, causing you to walk on the outer edge of your foot. With high-inside ankle equinovarus, the foot is turned inwards, but the ankle joint is twisted inward. The surgery can also be done to correct a congenital abnormality, such as a bunion (a bump on the joint caused by pushing the joint towards the outside).
Ankle Varus Reinforcement (AVR) and Presurgical weakening of the ankle muscles (PSWM)
This surgery is almost the same as the above. Again, the goal is to treat and prevent equinovarus. The surgery can be done on one or both ankles. AVR is done if you have ankle congenital deformity (a deformity that is present from birth) or if you have had ankle surgery in the past and the ankle has weakened since then. PSWM is done if you have arthritis in the ankle joint and the pain is not controlled by medication. The surgery weakens the muscles by either burning or cutting the muscle to reduce the pain. PSWM can be done on one or both ankles.
Other Types of Ankle Surgery
There are other types of ankle surgeries as well, such as an arthrosis, where the surgeon removes the cartilage from the joint and fuses the bones. An ankle fusion may be recommended if you have severe arthritis in your ankle joint. If the joint has been badly injured, it may be repaired with a tendon graft. Lastly, if the ankle is broken into many pieces, it will be treated with surgery.
Recovery Process After Ankle Surgery
All surgeries carry a risk of complications, but the scars will fade as time goes by, and the risk of complications decreases significantly after a few months. Every surgery has its own recovery process, but there are a few general guidelines you can follow to optimize your outcomes. -Rest: Most surgeons recommend that you rest your foot for a few days after surgery.
This gives your foot time to recover from the surgery, so you can start moving on with your life. -Ice: Use ice packs to reduce swelling and pain in the first few days after the surgery. -Compression: Keep your foot and ankle wrapped in compression bandages to reduce swelling and help heal the incisions from the surgery. – Elevation: Keeping your foot above your heart will help reduce swelling in your foot and ankle. -Medications: Take the pain medications and antibiotics your doctor prescribes for as long as you’re supposed to. -Motion: Begin moving your foot as soon as you can. Start with gentle exercises and slowly build up to more strenuous activities as you progress. – Physical therapy: A physical therapist will design a program to help you recover after surgery and return to your normal activities.
Ankle injuries are some of the most common sports injuries. And with the amount of time we spend on our feet and off the ground, it’s no surprise that people who have flat feet or weaker arches are at a higher risk for sprained ankles. Ankle surgeries are mainly used to correct a deformity in the ankle joint or to relieve pain or discomfort caused by arthritis. There are many types of ankle surgeries, such as ankle fusions, ankle rotator reinforcement (AR), ankle varus reinforcement (AVR), and presurgical weakening of the ankle muscles (PSWM). Recovery from an ankle surgery can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on the type of surgery.