After a severe twisting injury to the ankle that causes swelling and bruising, the lateral ligaments in the ankle can lose their tightness and strength. This makes even walking feel unstable. When playing sports or walking on uneven ground, the ankle may give way leading to further swelling and bruising. The swelling and bruising can make playing sports increasingly painful and difficult. As time goes on, an unstable ankle tends to give way more frequently. Many athletes report that unstable ankles never felt quite right after the original injury. For athletes with ankle instability who want to continue in their sport, Ankle Instability surgery is fundamental to recovery.
Minor ankle instability can often be treated with medication and physical therapy. If the ankle instability is more severe, Dr. Shani will discuss surgical options to better stabilize the ankle. Ankle Stability surgery re-strengthen the tendons in the ankle so they no longer give way under strain. The most common surgical technique is known as a Broström procedure, an outpatient procedure performed through small incisions made around the ankle. Using small instruments, Dr. Shani cuts the damaged tendons and reattaches them at normal tension in their original position on the bone. For more advanced injuries, Dr. Shani uses the Christian-Snook procedure to surgically reconstruct the tendons in the ankle by weaving new tendons around the bones to stabilize the ankle joint.
Dr. Shani and a physical therapist work with patients for about six months on an individualized rehabilitation plan to make a full recovery after ankle stability surgery. The ankle is immobilized for at least one to two months in a cast and ankle brace, and patients use crutches to keep all weight off the repaired ankle for the first six weeks after surgery. After three months, patients begin focusing on sports specific training in physical therapy. Most patients return to pre-injury sporting abilities after six months of physical therapy and consultations with Dr. Shani.