Do Torn Ankle Ligaments Require Surgery?

Do torn ankle ligaments require surgery? That’s a question some people have after suffering from ligament damage in their feet and ankles. In some instances, surgery isn’t necessary but in others, it is the only real option.

Do Torn Ankle Ligaments Require Surgery?

Torn ankle ligaments cause pain, swelling, and instability. And, what to do about this condition really depends largely on the extent of the damage. Moreover, other treatments are generally tried before surgery becomes an option. For people with an unstable ankle, they usually go through about six months of nonsurgical treatment protocols, according to the American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. After that time, if the condition is not corrected, surgery becomes a viable option.

However, it’s important to note, there are different types of surgery. It might require what’s known as lateral ankle ligament reconstruction or another procedure. Some people are not candidates for surgery because they have nerve damage or suffer from collagen diseases. Those who suffer from chronic ankle pain might also better benefit from nonsurgical treatment. What’s more, if it’s just a simple, single ankle sprain, it’s not very likely surgery is necessary.

The good news is, many of the procedures aren’t too invasive. Meaning, many are outpatient procedures, requiring only a local anesthetic. Depending on the particulars of the damage, torn ligaments might be treated with stitches. Another possibility is using a tendon as a replacement for a torn ligament.

After surgery, patients are typically fitted with a cast for about two weeks.