Ankle arthroscopy

Information about an arthroscopy of the ankle is outlined within this page. Should you have any questions, contact your doctor.

What is an arthroscopy of the ankle?

An arthroscopy is the medical term for keyhole surgery. This procedure enables your surgeon to see inside your ankle through a small incision using a camera. Using this method the surgeon is able to diagnose problems such as joint damage, ligament damage and arthritis.

What are the main benefits of surgery?

Surgery confirms what the exact problem is and in many cases the surgeon is able to treat the problem at the same time.

Are there alternatives to surgery?

Sometimes it is possible to diagnose problems within the ankle using an MRI scan. However, you would usually need an arthroscopy to treat the problem.

What does the operation involve?

Various anaesthetic techniques are possible. This procedure usually takes no more than three-quarters of an hour. A camera will be inserted through small incisions around your ankle. The surgeon is then able to remove any loose material caused by wear to the joint surfaces and remove any fragments of bone or swelling from the ankle joint lining.

What complications can happen?

General complications

• Pain
• Bleeding
• Infection of the surgical site (wound)
• Scarring
• Blood clots
• Difficulty passing urine

Specific complications

• Nerve damage around ankle
• Swelling and tightness of the calf muscle (compartment syndrome)
• Infection within the ankle joint
• Stiffness, severe pain and loss of use of the ankle (complex regional pain syndrome)

How long will recovery take?

Usually you will be discharged the same day. The ankle may be slightly swollen for a week or two and walking may be uncomfortable. Regular, gentle exercise will aid in your recovery. However seek advice from your GP or the healthcare team as to what exercises are best for you. The majority of people will make a good recovery and can soon return to normal everyday tasks.


An arthroscopy is a less intrusive form of surgery. It allows the surgeon to diagnose and treat common ankle related problems, without the need for a large cut to skin, reducing the amount of pain you feel and ensuring a quicker recovery.

We look forward to hearing from you to discuss your needs and see how we can get you the best treatment, quickly and affordably.

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