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When Does a Twisted Ankle Need Surgery? Atlanta, GA
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A twisted ankle, also known as an ankle sprain, is a common injury characterized by damage to the ligaments surrounding the ankle joint. Most cases of ankle sprains heal with conservative treatments like rest, ice, compression, elevation (R.I.C.E.), physical therapy and bracing. However, in certain instances, a severe ankle sprain may necessitate surgical intervention to ensure proper healing and restore stability to the joint.

Ankle sprains commonly occur when the ankle turns too far in one direction, stretching or tearing the ligaments holding the bones in place. Sport injuries are a common cause of ankle sprains, but simply twisting the ankle during a fall can result in a painful injury that may require treatment or surgery in severe cases.

Ankle Sprain Surgery Factors

The decision to opt for surgery for a twisted ankle or sprain depends on several factors assessed by an orthopedic or sports medicine specialist. These may include:

  • Severity of the Injury: If the ankle sprain is severe, involving a complete tear or significant damage to multiple ligaments, surgery might be considered. High-grade sprains often lead to persistent instability or recurrent sprains, impacting the ankle’s ability to support weight and function properly.
  • Failure of Conservative Treatments: When conservative treatments fail to alleviate symptoms or restore stability to the ankle joint, surgery may become a viable option. If symptoms persist despite adequate rehabilitation efforts, surgical intervention might be recommended to address the underlying structural issues.
  • Chronic Instability: Some individuals may experience chronic ankle instability following repeated sprains or inadequate healing of ligaments. In such cases, surgical repair or reconstruction of the damaged ligaments may be necessary to enhance stability and prevent future injuries.
  • Associated Injuries: Severe ankle sprains may be accompanied by additional injuries such as fractures or cartilage damage. Surgery might be required to address these associated injuries to ensure proper healing and prevent long-term complications.
  • Occupational or Athletic Considerations: Individuals engaged in physically demanding activities or sports that place high demands on the ankles might opt for surgery to restore optimal function and stability, reducing the risk of recurrent injuries.

Surgical procedures for a twisted ankle typically involve repairing or reconstructing the damaged ligaments. Surgeons may use various techniques, including ligament repair, reconstruction using grafts from other tendons or advanced procedures like arthroscopy to assess and treat associated joint damage.

Post-surgery, rehabilitation and physical therapy play a crucial role in restoring strength, flexibility and function to the ankle. A structured rehabilitation program helps in regaining stability, improving range of motion, and facilitating a safe return to normal activities or sports.

It is essential to consult with a qualified orthopedic surgeon to determine the most appropriate course of action based on the severity of the injury, individual circumstances and treatment goals. While surgery for a twisted ankle is less common, in cases where conservative measures fall short in restoring stability and function, surgical intervention can be pivotal in ensuring optimal healing and reducing the likelihood of recurrent ankle issues. If you have a severe twisted ankle that is not responding to conservative treatment or you have other factors that indicate surgical intervention, contact Ortho Sport & Spine Physicians to schedule an ankle sprain treatment consultation.

Posted on behalf of Ortho Sport & Spine Physicians

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