Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Ankle FAQ


My 17-year old daughter has been diagnosed with posterior ankle impingement. She is going to have an operation to help decrease the pain and improve motion. The doctor is planning to cut the ankle open. Can’t this be done with an arthroscope?


Posterior ankle impingement means that some soft tissue structure in the back of the ankle is getting pinched. Open incision is still the most common way to approach ankle surgery. It's difficult to reach the posterior compartment of the ankle with current arthroscopic methods. If the problem is outside the joint, then arthroscopy doesn’t help. More and more joint surgery is being done with arthroscopy. This is common now with the knee and shoulder. Studies are being done to find safe ways to use arthroscopy on the ankle. Most of this research is still in its early stages. Doctors start with animals and then progress to human cadaver studies. These two steps must be done before trying new methods on live patients. It’s only a matter of time before doctors have perfected arthroscopic surgery on the ankle. Anything outside the ankle will still require open surgery. Francesco Lijoi, MD, et al. Posterior Arthroscopic Approach to the Ankle: An Anatomic Study. In Arthroscopy. January 2003. Vol. 19. No. 1. Pp. 62-67.

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