If your ankle sometimes “gives out” or you’ve had numerous ankle sprains, your ankle ligaments may be weak or injured.
Ankle ligament reconstruction is a surgical procedure to stabilize your ankle. The surgery strengthens your outside ligaments and helps prevent ankle strain or sprains.
To diagnose and treat your condition, your orthopedist will likely take x-rays and try less-invasive methods for several months before suggesting surgery. It’s unlikely your doctor will recommend surgery if you’ve only had one ankle sprain or have not yet tried nonsurgical treatments.
Ankle ligament reconstruction surgery is usually done on an outpatient basis. Before the operation, you will receive anesthesia so do not feel any pain.
The orthopedic surgeon will make an incision on the outside of your ankle and will then repair your ligament. For example, the surgeon may use stitches or anchors to tighten a stretched ligament or may use a tendon to replace a torn ligament. Talk to your doctor about which of the reconstruction techniques is best for you.
After the operation, you will have a splint or cast on the lower part of your leg and will need to keep weight off your foot and ankle for 10 to 14 days. Many people use crutches, wheelchairs or other walking aids to move around.
As the incision and ligaments heal, you will begin to put weight on your foot by wearing a removable walking boot. You will also begin physical therapy to strengthen and regain motion of your ankle and foot. You can expect total recovery time to take from six months to 12 months, depending on the severity of your condition and how quickly your body heals.
After ankle ligament reconstruction, many people regain full stability of their ankle. If your ankle needs additional support after surgery, you can continue with physical therapy or wear a brace. Some people choose additional surgery to correct the problem.