Understanding How a Peripheral Nerve Surgeon Can Treat Ankle Ligament Injuries

An ankle ligament injury is a common musculoskeletal condition that can cause significant pain and disability. Ankle ligaments are strong bands of tissue that connect the bones of the ankle joint, providing stability and helping to keep the ankle aligned during movement. When a person suffers an ankle ligament injury, these structures become stretched or torn, resulting in ankle instability and presenting various debilitating symptoms. Finding a Baltimore surgeon for ankle ligament injury 

For some patients, reconstruction surgery is an option that may provide relief so they can get back to living the life they want without suffering from a condition that interrupts their everyday activities.

Types and Signs of Ankle Ligament Injuries

Ankle ligament injuries range from mild to severe. A mild injury may only be a strained or stretched ligament, while a severe sprain can involve torn ligaments, causing instability and significant pain. In moderate to severe cases, the ankle joint may become unstable, as the structures that provide reinforcement are damaged. 

The most common types of ankle ligament injuries are ankle sprains, which are classified as the following:

  • Inversion: This type of ankle sprain can occur when the foot is twisted inwards by a sudden change in direction, such as landing after a jump or slipping on an uneven surface. It typically affects the lateral (outside) ligaments and can cause pain, swelling, bruising, and instability.
  • Eversion: This is the opposite of an inversion sprain and happens when the foot is twisted outwards. It affects the medial (inside) ligaments, resulting in pain, swelling, bruising, and instability.
  • High ankle: This condition is a sprained or torn ligament connecting the lower leg’s two bones, the tibia and fibula, and is frequently caused by excessive force applied to the ankle joint or by rolling over on it. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and instability in the ankle joint as well as pain in the upper part of the leg.

An ankle ligament injury manifests in many ways due to the range of motion in the ankle joint. Symptoms may include: 

  • Pain
  • Bruising
  • A popping sound when the injury occurred
  • Tenderness to the touch
  • Swelling around the ankle joint
  • Instability or weakness in the ankle
  • Limited range of motion
  • Difficulty walking
  • Bearing weight on the ankle 

If you’re experiencing these issues, consult your doctor immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment before more serious damage occurs. An ankle ligament injury might intensify into disabling pain that significantly affects your quality of life. Recurrent ligament injuries often result in chronic ankle instability. This condition causes constant pain and puts you at risk for repeated sprains.

Treatment Options

If you experience any signs or symptoms of an ankle ligament injury, you need comprehensive medical attention. This ensures you’ll receive a proper diagnosis and a timely treatment plan to help you return to normal activities as quickly and safely as possible.  

To diagnose an ankle ligament injury, your doctor performs a physical exam and orders imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI to determine the severity and location of the damage. Less severe injuries are typically treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE). It’s also possible they’ll recommend the use of ankle braces or orthotics to provide additional support while the ligament heals. 

Severe sprains or repeated injuries and instability often require ankle reconstruction surgery to repair the damaged ligament and restore the joint’s range of motion. Reconstruction surgery for ankle ligament injuries should only be performed when the benefits significantly outweigh the potential risks. Dr. Williams assesses your condition and determines the best option for your specific needs. 

Various types of reconstruction procedures can be done to repair ankle ligament injuries, such as:

  • Tightening and reattaching the ligament to the bone
  • Tendon transfer to replace the damaged ligaments

For some patients, it’s possible to experience short-term stiffness or numbness after the procedure. Other potential complications include:

  • Infection
  • Nerve problems
  • Laxity or stiffness in the secondary ligaments of the joint

Following reconstruction surgery, your doctor will give you specific instructions on what to do during your recovery. For many patients, physical therapy is often recommended to help regain mobility, strength, and muscle coordination around the ankle area and restore full function.

Contact Us Today

If you’re struggling with an ankle ligament injury and considering reconstruction surgery, contact Dr. Williams for an evaluation. He’ll determine if you’ll benefit from surgery or other options and create a treatment plan to fit your individual needs. Call our Baltimore office at 410-709-3868 or fill out our convenient contact form online.