Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Ankle FAQ


After years of ankle sprains, my doctor has suggested surgery to repair the damage and get on with my life. It sounds like they would have to make a fairly long incision on the outside of my lower leg down to my foot. When I had knee surgery last year, they just used a scope. Why can't they do ankle surgery for me with a scope?


Chronic ankle sprains can result in major scarring, soft tissue damage, and joint instability. The tendons along the outside of your ankle start up at the top of your lower leg and travel all the way down to the bones of your foot. If tendon repair or reconstruction is needed, an open incision is required to gain access to all the structures involved. When knee surgery is performed arthroscopically, the damage is confined within the joint and can be seen with a scope. The surgeon may have to enter the knee joint at several different points to see from different angles, but an open incision is no longer needed. The foot and ankle is a much more complex anatomical structure. For simple procedures, a scope may be possible. In your case, it sounds like the damage is more extensive requiring open access to the area. Daniel S. Heckman, MD, et al. Tendon Disorders of the Foot and Ankle, Part 1. Peroneal Tendon Disorders. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine.In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. March 2009.Vol. 37. No. 3. Pp. 614-625.

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