Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Ankle FAQ


I was coming down from a lay up during a basketball game two days ago. When I landed, my foot rolled in and I tore a ligament on the outside of my ankle. Will I need surgery to fix this problem, or are there things I can do to avoid surgery?


Most doctors in the United States would not do surgery right away. In rare cases, such as with an elite athlete, surgery may be done immediately. Because surgery carries higher risks and costs, most doctors rely on nonsurgical treatments first. These treatments commonly include a period of rest, along with the use of an ankle brace. Cold treatments, anti-inflammatory medication, and a compression wrap with elevation of the sore limb are generally helpful for the pain and swelling. If you start to get relief and can gradually get back to activities without having extra swelling or unsteadiness in the ankle, you most likely will not need surgery. 

A recent study comparing types of treatment for this condition showed that people who had surgery experienced fewer problems over a longer time period. However, because the surgery is costly and has greater risks, it is usually only done only if other types of treatment haven't improved stability in the injured ankle.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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