Lateral Ankle Reconstruction for Instability

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Most patients go home the same day as the operation. You will have a plaster cast below the knee, and will be required to avoid putting any weight through you foot for the first 10-14 days after your operation.

A physiotherapist will assess you for an appropriate walking aid (e.g. crutches) and teach you to 'hop' using them. You will also be shown how to go up and down stairs.

Swelling is common, particularly whilst the wounds are healing. In order to reduce swelling, your foot should be elevated (above the level of your heart) for 50 minutes in every hour for the first two weeks.

After 10-14 days you will be allowed to weight-bear in a special removable "walker boot", although some patients may require the continued use of a plaster cast. You will be advised to gradually put more weight down through your operated leg, so that you can eventually put your full weight down through this leg. If you have a walker boot, you may remove it to wash and perform exercises, which your surgeon will advise you on.

You will be referred to physiotherapy, where over the next six weeks, you will gradually increase your activity to running, whilst wearing the brace. At the 12-week point, you should be back into normal footwear and your physiotherapist will progress your balance, stamina and strengthening exercises.

What about pain?

Whilst you are in hospital you will be monitored and the medical staff will give you painkillers as required and prescribed. The nursing staff will give you instructions on managing your pain before you leave hospital.

What will my ankle be like long-term?

Long term outcomes will vary depending on the severity of the injury and the type of procedure used to repair the ligaments. Often, the surgery will be considered 'successful' because the ankle has been stabilised, even though the patient may feel some degree of difficulty performing different tasks. Physiotherapy and rehabilitation is extremely helpful in improving performance, but it is not always possible to return to a fully functioning, perfect ankle.

It is important to have realistic expectations about your recovery. To this end, discussion with your surgeon and physiotherapist about what they expect in terms of your short term and long term outcomes is key. What you can do at home

28 September, 2011