Ankle lateral ligament reconstruction

A procedure to strengthen sprained ankles

A procedure to renew the supporting ankle ligaments to improve stability

What is a lateral ligament reconstruction of the ankle?

If you have ankle instability, your consultant may recommend lateral ligament reconstruction surgery. Here, the weakened ligaments on either side of the ankle are renewed to better support the ankle and increase mobility.

This procedure is used to strengthen sprained ankles where the ligaments have healed in a stretched position.

Need to know

  • What happens during a ligament reconstruction? icon plus

    The ankle is supported by strong ligaments. If the ankle is twisted, the ligaments can become stretched or torn, known as a sprained ankle.

    Sometimes other injuries occur such as an osteochondral injury to the shock absorbing cartilage. The procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic, so you'll be asleep throughout.

    The ankle is stressed using special X-rays to assess stability. A keyhole procedure is then performed to assess the whole ankle and if necessary a small incision is then made to the outside of the ankle to repair the stretched or torn ligaments. The ankle is then closed with stitches and a plaster cast applied below the knee.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the procedure in detail with you, and answer any questions you might have. Because general anaesthetic is used during the procedure, you may need to fast for several hours before the operation.

    Your consultant will tell you how long you should avoid eating and drinking. As your leg will be in a plaster cast after the operation you may require a daily injection to reduce the risk of blood clots. Like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved. Your consultant will explain these to you.
  • After surgery icon plus

    After surgery, your foot will be in a plaster cast below the knee and you’ll wear a large, protective boot. You’ll also be walking on crutches. When you’re comfortable, you’ll be sent home with painkillers if needed.

    Over the following weeks, you'll need to raise your foot as much as possible to reduce swelling. You’ll also be advised to obtain a waterproof cover to protect your cast in the shower. After two weeks you may be taken out of plaster and put into a walking boot.

    To get back on your feet, you'll see a physiotherapist who will follow a carefully devised rehabilitation programme to help you recover fully.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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