Surgical treatment for ankle sprains is rare.
Surgery is reserved for injuries that fail to respond to nonsurgical treatment, and for patients who experience persistent ankle instability (giving away) after months of rehabilitation and nonsurgical treatment.
Surgical options may include
- Arthroscopy – Use a small camera, called an arthroscope, to look inside your ankle joint. Miniature instruments are used to remove any loose fragments of bone or cartilage, or parts of the ligament that may be caught in the joint.
- Reconstruction – Can be either repair the torn ligament with stitches or sutures or in some cases, reconstruct the damaged ligament by replacing it with a tissue graft obtained from other ligaments and/or tendons found in the foot and around the ankle.
There is typically a period of immobilization following surgery for an ankle sprain. A cast or protective boot is applied to protect the repaired or reconstructed ligament.
If removed too soon, a simple misstep can re-tear the fixed ligaments.
Rehabilitation after surgery involves time and attention to restore strength and range of motion so you can return to pre-injury function. The length of recovery time depends upon the extent of injury and the amount of surgery that was done. Rehabilitation may take from weeks to months.