I sprained my ankle pretty badly 10 months ago. It just wasn't healing so I had arthroscopic surgery to find out what was wrong and fix it. That was two months ago and my pain hasn't gone away even a bit. I just feel there's something else wrong with the ankle. Is that possible?
Studies show that up to one-third of all patients who have ankle reconstructive surgery for ankle sprains that don't respond to conservative care end up with continued pain. The ankle may even appear to be stable but like you, the patient feels there's still something else wrong.
It is very possible that there are other intraarticular (inside the joint) problems. It could be there's another ligament damaged that was missed on the first exam. Or there may be an osteochondral lesion. That refers to a piece of cartilage that has pulled away from the joint surface with a tiny piece of bone still attached.
It may be time to head back to your surgeon for a follow-up exam. An X-ray or other imaging study might show what's going on. Otherwise, a second look with the arthroscope from all angles may be required. In some patients, the true problem isn't revealed until an open incision is made and the surgeon can investigate all aspects of the joint and surrounding soft tissue structures.
Ronald V. Gregush, MD, and Richar D. Ferkel, MD. Treatment of the Unstable Ankle with an Osteochrondral Lesions. Results and Long-Term Follow-Up. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. April 2010. Vol. 38. No. 4. Pp. 782-790.
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