Which Foot and Ankle Problems Can Be Treated with Arthroscopic Surgery?

A procedure whose purpose is to both diagnose and treat joint problems and injuries, arthroscopy entails the orthopedic surgeon inserting a narrow tube with a fiber-optic camera through a small incision, roughly the size of a buttonhole. The arthroscope's camera permanently transmits clear, detailed images from the inside of the joint on a monitor for the surgeon and their medical team to see. Arthroscopy can be used for loose bone fragments, damaged or torn cartilage, inflamed joints, torn ligaments, and scarring within joints.

Foot and ankle issues can also be treated with arthroscopic surgery. Some of the most common foot and ankle problems that can be successfully treated with arthroscopy are the following:

  • fractures
  • severe sprains
  • ligament injuries
  • pain and inflammation
  • ankle arthritis
  • problems of the big toe joint
  • ankle instability
  • infection
  • arthrofibrosis
  • posterior ankle impingement

The main advantage of arthroscopic surgery is that it is minimally invasive, which allows the patient to return home the same day of the procedure after a few hours of being monitored in the hospital. It also promotes faster recovery and implies a significantly lower risk of postoperative complications. Nonetheless, it is worthy of note that not all patients with foot or ankle problems are good candidates for arthroscopy. In some cases, traditional, open surgery is the best treatment approach, especially when there is a complex injury.