There are many different reasons why an individual may require ankle surgery. The ankle can become damaged due to trauma, such as an accident or injury, or through degenerative diseases or congenital issues which cause the joint to stop functioning effectively over time.

As the joint becomes damaged, the protective fluid in the joint, as well as the tendons and ligaments holding the joint in place, can fail. This results in bone on bone contact and further joint degeneration. In addition, this is an extremely painful condition which can limit mobility and even prevent weight bearing on the ankle over time.

With different types of ankle surgery, an orthopedic surgeon can repair or replace the damaged area of the ankle, restoring movement and helping to reduce or completely eliminate the pain associated with movement prior to the procedure. Understanding the reasons the doctor is recommending ankle surgery can help you determine if this is the right treatment option.

Ankle Fracture Surgery

When an ankle is broken and the bones are not able to be set correctly to heal, or if there is so much damage to the bones they cannot be simply externally manipulated into the correct position, ankle surgery may be required.

This procedure allows the surgeon to use plates, wires and screws to position the ankle bones correctly during the healing process. New technology allows for much smaller incisions and fewer complications with this option.


Arthroscopy is a less invasive type of surgical procedure which allows the orthopedic surgeon to use a small camera and a fiber optic lens to look at the ligaments and joints of the ankle. This means smaller incisions and less risk of infections and complications post ankle surgery.

Arthroscopic procedures can be used to remove loose bone fragments or material in the joint itself, fix small areas which are damaged, and to remove bone spurs. Inflamed or damaged tissue in ligaments or in the joint itself can also be removed using this method.

Ankle Arthroplasty

In this ankle surgery the orthopedic surgeon will replace one, two or three of the bones in the ankle to create a new, healthy and full or partial artificial joint. This type of procedure is usually not the first option recommended as it is more complex than other types of joint replacements. It is usually only performed when the ankle is extremely damaged and the patient is experiencing chronic, severe pain.

There are many types of ankle surgery, so it is important to discuss your options with your doctor. You may also want to consider alternative treatments first as they may provide the pain relief you need without the risks and recovery period of surgery.

If you are considering ankle surgery talk to our orthopedic surgeons. At Suburban Orthopaedics, we have extensive experience in non-surgical and surgical treatment options. To learn more go to or check out our Facebook page.

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