Ankle Arthroscopy

Indications for operation

  • Pain from bony spurs (impingement)
  • Loose bodies (pieces of bone or cartilage floating in the ankle joint)
  • Dents/holes in the cartilage (osteochondral defects)


The operation will be performed while you're asleep under a general anaesthetic.

Operation type



Two 0.5cm incisions are made on either side of the ankle at the front.


The ankle is filled up with fluid and all of the surfaces are inspected. If there are spurs of bone that are painful, these are shaved away along with any excess soft tissue that may be getting caught. Any loose bits are removed. If there is a discreet hole/defect in the cartilage layer, it may be possible to drill some small holes in the base of it. This encourages it to seal over with some smoother fibrous tissue, hopefully reducing pain.

Wound closure

The wounds are closed with absorbable stitches.


Dressings are placed over the stitches and a supportive bandage applied to the ankle.

Immediate aftercare

When you wake up you will have a bandage on the ankle but can get up and about when you feel able. If it has been necessary to treat defects in the cartilage, your surgeon may request that you do not put any weight on the leg, otherwise you can apply as much weight as feels comfortable.

You will be able to go home when your surgeon and anaesthetist are happy and an outpatient's appointment will be arranged for you. You can expect the ankle to settle quite quickly over the first 2 weeks but it may take longer for all of the swelling to settle down.


All operations carry small risks of complications. Whilst these are very rare, they need to be balanced against the potential benefits and this is something that your surgeon will discuss with you in detail before the operation. The specific risks for ankle arthroscopy are persistent swelling, persistent symptoms depending on the underlying cause, injury to the small nerve.

Our practice covers the following hospitals:

Parkside Hospital
For appointments phone : 0208 971 8026

St Anthony's Hospital
For appointments phone : 0208 335 4678

Ashtead Hospital
For appointments phone : 01372 221441

New Victoria Hospital
For appointments phone : 0208 9499000

Clock House Hospital
For appointments phone : 01372 840837