The ankle ligaments provide stability to the ankle. Sometimes these ligaments can be damaged when the ankle is twisted or sprained. Usually the ligaments repair themselves over time, but in some cases this does not happen and the ankle remains unstable. In this situation, an operation to reconstruct the ligaments may be recommended.
The procedure will usually be performed under general anaesthetic and is a day-case procedure. Occasionally an ankle arthroscopy (key-hole surgery) is required before the ligament operation is performed.
To reconstruct the ligament, an incision is made over the outside of the ankle. The damaged ligament is then cut, and healthy ligament is pulled up over the damaged ligament and attached to the bone. The ankle is then placed in a plaster cast.
For the first few weeks following surgery you will need to elevate your foot as much as possible to reduce swelling. This will both make the foot more comfortable and help the wounds to heal. You will have to keep your weight off the foot for the first two weeks using crutches. You will then have the stitches removed and the ankle will be placed in a walking boot for four more weeks. You can walk in this boot. At six weeks you will be provided with an ankle brace that you can wear in your normal shoes, and you will start physiotherapy.