ARTHROSCOPY OF THE ANKLE
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical technique which minimizes postoperative complications and speeds up recovery. The procedure enables early rehabilitation, which significantly shortens the time of recovery. The most common indications for arthroscopy of the ankle are:
- removal of free bodies,
- excision of degenerative changes,
- treatment of ankle instability.
How to prepare for the procedure?
Before the surgery, it is good to discuss the process of rehabilitation with a physiotherapist, because it depends on the type of surgery. Depending on the condition of the ankle, the therapy should be aimed at improving the range of motion and at strengthening the muscles of the lower limb. This will allow the joint to regain its proper function faster. Another important element is to acquire basic therapy equipment, such as a ball and an elastic band. In addition to practicing in the physiotherapist’s office, rehabilitation must be continued at home, and therefore having your own auxiliary equipment is very important. Also, it is important to have elbow crutches, which are necessary in the first weeks after the procedure. In some cases, you will also need an ankle orthosis. An orthopaedist will inform you about the need to acquire an orthosis. It is also worth buying gel cooling compresses to reduce joint swelling after the procedure.
How long does rehabilitation take?
The duration of rehabilitation depends on the problem solved during arthroscopy. The shortest recovery time with minor ankle surgery is about six weeks. For more complex operations, this time is a minimum of 3 months. Despite the same type of surgery, each patient’s treatment will be slightly different, and the time of rehabilitation is very individual. Hence, the recovery period may be different for each patient.
What will happen if I do not rehabilitate?
Arthroscopy of the ankle is half the battle. The other half is good physiotherapy. Patients who do not exercise at home and do not follow the instructions of a physiotherapist should be aware that they may not regain full fitness or the recovery time will be significantly longer.
The main goals of physiotherapy:
- Reducing pain and swelling, learning how to walk with crutches,
- Obtaining full mobility of the ankle,
- Developing muscle strength of the operated limb and stability of the ankle, so that the patient can move independently without orthopaedic aids,
- Dexterity training with the elements that help to return to favourite sports activities.
In the Szpital Zakonu Bonifratrów, physiotherapy is performed by a team of specialists:
Rafał Trąbka, PhD
Łukasz Gregulski, MSc