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Ankle Arthroscopy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Mar 5, 2023.

Ankle arthroscopy is a procedure to look inside your ankle joint. Your healthcare provider will use an arthroscope (tube with a light and camera on the end) to see the joint. An arthroscopy can be used to remove, repair, or rebuild part of your ankle.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • You may be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during your procedure. You may instead be given medicine to numb your ankle. You will remain awake during the procedure, but you should not feel pain.

During your procedure:

Your healthcare provider may inject contrast liquid into your ankle. This will help him or her see your ankle joint better during the procedure. Your provider will make an incision on your ankle to insert the arthroscope. More small incisions will be made on your ankle. Tools will be inserted to remove or repair your ankle. Screws, stitches, or pins may be placed in your joint. A tool that burns tissue may be used to stop bleeding and remove ankle tissue. The incisions will be closed with stitches and wrapped with a bandage.

After your procedure:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Healthcare providers will monitor you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you may be allowed to go home.

  • Do not get out of bed on your own until your healthcare provider says you can. Talk to healthcare providers before you get up the first time. They may need to help you stand up safely.
  • You may need a cast, brace, or splint on your ankle. This will help prevent movement so your ankle can heal. You may need to use crutches to help you move around.
  • Healthcare providers will prop your ankle on pillows to keep it above the level of your heart. This will help decrease swelling and pain.
  • Healthcare providers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a healthcare provider when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.


Nerves, blood vessels, or tissues in your ankle may be damaged during the procedure. Your ankle may become stiff, numb, or painful. You may not be able to move your ankle as well as you could before your procedure. Your symptoms may not go away. You may need to have open surgery on your ankle.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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