FAQ Category: Ankle


What is the best treatment for reducing swelling in an ankle injury?

Using a multilayer compression wrap, like an Ace wrap, can be very effective at reducing swelling whether you sprain your ankle or break it. Using a combination of cold pack applications, elevating your swollen foot and using the compression wrap can be even more helpful for reducing pain, improving ankle […]


Do those pneumatic compression socks work at reducing ankle swelling after I break my ankle?

Manuela Rohner-Spengler, a clinical Physical Therapist and a team of MD/PhDs from the Departments of Rheumatology and Physiotherapy and Trauma Surgery at the Lucerne Cantonal Hospital in Switzerland took interest the optimal pre-operative swelling management techniques to yield the best post-operative outcomes. They found when impulse compression devices or pneumatic […]


I have posterior heel pain do I need surgery?

First off it’s important to determine the cause of your pain.  Os trigonum syndrome is diagnosed primarily from clinical history and plain radiography. Typically conservative non-operative management will be the first treatment option. If this option fails to change symptoms or progress then surgical options may be discussed with your […]


I have been diagnosed with osteonecrosis in my ankle, what are my treatment options?

The treatment options are classified into two main categories, joint preserving techniques and non-joint preserving procedures. Non-joint preserving techniques are typically chosen in advanced stage osteonecrosis. These techniques include arthrodesis or joint fusion, talectomy or removal of all or a portion of the talus, and arthroplasty or a joint resurfacing. […]


My doctor has recommended an outpatient procedure called percutaneous drilling for a Stage II osteonecrotic lesion on my talus. What can I expect after surgery for rehabilitation and long term function?

Percutaneous drilling is a type of bone decompression surgery that is relatively new. This technique differs slightly from other core decompression techniques in that it uses smaller drill bits and is thus less invasive and removes less bone. It has been the subject of recent attention as it has been […]


I am considering an ankle replacement, what are some of the common complications?

The most common complication reported from this study of 106 patients was a medial malleolar fracture. Other less common problems were persistent medial ankle pain, infection and a distal tibial fracture. Two patients with the persistent medial ankle pain were later diagnosed with medial impingement, and had a successful surgery […]


I am in my 50’s and my ankle pain has gotten to the point where I can barely walk without pain, especially in the mornings.  I’m normally fairly active and my ankle has been bothersome since I fractured it in my 20’s.  What are my treatment options as far as pain reduction?  Can they replace your ankle like they do knees now?

Advances in technology now show good results with ankle replacements. Currently, there are two options that allow for improved function and decreased pain: a mobile implant, that allows for motion in multiple planes, and a fixed-bearing, that allows for pointing and flexing the ankle, but little side to side motion. […]


I have end stage ankle arthritis and my surgeon wants to perform a total ankle replacement, specifically a fixed implant.  I’m concerned about this because normally don’t ankles move in more than one direction.  I can make a circle with my other ankle.  I know they make a mobile implant.  Why does he not use this one instead?  What are the disadvantages to a fixed implant?

There is a mobile implant available but recent evidence suggests that there is little difference between the two implant types.  A fixed implant actually allows for better gait mechanics.  People with mobile implants report better pain reduction, but this could be a study flaw.  This is ultimately a discussion you […]


I have recently had surgery for a fractured talus and my doctor discovered in my follow up x-ray that I have osteonecrosis. What is that and what does that mean for my recovery?

Osteonecrosis is defined on ankle and foot radiographs as increased radiographic density, relative to the adjacent osseous structures, essentially meaning that there has been interruption of the vascular supply to the bone causing bone death. Although this sounds bad, in this study it appears that the radiographic density will normalize […]


My mother had a type III fracture of her talus and the surgeon decided to wait a few days before performing her surgery. Why would they make that choice and will this increase her rick of getting arthritis in the future?

In this study the timing of fracture fixation was at the discretion of the treating surgeon and usually this decision is associated with the severity of soft-tissue swelling. The decision to delay fixation is related to a lower rate of soft-tissue complications due to several factors including being able to […]


I fell down the stairs and sprained and broke my ankle at the end of the fibula. I have to have surgery to repair the fracture. I am not sure if I want all those screws in my ankle forever, especially since I want to continue running and biking. What are my options?

Traditionally all syndesmotic fractures are treated operatively with screw fixation being the gold-standard. There are a lot of choices for the type of screw used in this procedure, including single or double, metal or bioabsorbable. Double screws provide the greatest amount of stabilization. You are correct to be concerned about […]


I have sprained my ankle several times but recently suffered a high ankle sprain for the first time. This sprain is taking so much longer to heal. Is this normal? Why would it take so long?

A review on ankle syndesmotic sprains identified a recent systematic review of six research studies comparing high ankle sprains to lateral ankle sprains. Athletes in these studies who suffered high anklesprains missed significantly more games, reported more residual symptoms long-term, and reported longer average recovery time compared to lateral ankle […]