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Ankle Ligament Reconstruction

After most ankle sprains, the ligaments on the outer side of the ankle (the lateral ligaments), even if torn, will heal without resulting instability being felt in the ankle. Occasionally this is not the case, and in these circumstances, patients report recurrent episodes of the ankle giving way, feeling unstable on uneven ground or recurrent sprains.

Initially ankle braces or strapping can be used. If these fail and symptoms persist, ankle reconstruction can provide for a reliable ankle with usually very little lost movement. A word of warning here is prudent: ankle ligament reconstruction can provide for a stable ankle, however it generally does not address any pain resulting from problems with the joint itself.

The surgery is straightforward and the results reproducible. A synthetic ligament is used and fixed to the bones of the ankle using small screws which cannot be felt through the skin. This new ligament limits the abnormal movement of the ankle and heel. Patients wear a special walking boot for a month or so after the surgery, although they can remove the boot regularly and stretch the ankle, so that movement is not lost.

Exercises are undertaken after the boot is removed, and patients are generally happy with the stability gained, recognising that the goal of the surgery is to restore stability not to 'turn back the clock'.