Ankle Surgery Recovery

Ankle Surgery Recovery

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Hello everybody, in today s article we are going to write about ankle surgery recovery. A broken ankle or ankle fracture is one of the most common bone or joint injuries a person can have. It can happen to everyone regardless of age, sex, health, body condition etc. Personally, I had about 15-20 sprained ankle injuries, but my luck, it was never something dangerous, only few days of rest and everything was fine.

Read our post Recovery From Surgery for the general informations you need to know.

When an Ankle Surgery Is Needed?

ankle surgery

Ankle surgery is needed either if you have painful ankle, sprained ankle or broken ankle. However, operation is not always the only option. Usually, for a lot of injuries as sprained ankle, or painful ankle, there are some treatments that do not require surgery. But as we all know, not all conditions can be fixed without surgery.

If your treatments for painful, sprained or broken ankle aren’t effective, your doctor will probably suggest you ankle surgery.

Most common reasons for surgery include:

  • Severe or repeated ankle injuries or fractures
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Ruptured tendons

Ankle Surgery Types

ankle surgery treatment

There are several surgical operation types when it comes to ankle injuries. However, surgery type you might have mostly depends on your ankle condition and type of injury.


Arthroscopy is minimally invasive operation where a surgeon uses small surgical instruments and mini camera to operate on your ankle. Since it’s minimally invasive, only small incisions are needed, leaving very small scars. Ankle arthroscopy can be used to fix fractures on the surface of bones, remove bone spurs or loose bodies and remove inflamed or damaged synovial tissue.

Ankle Replacement

It’s an operation used when other treatments for ankle arthritis didn’t have effect. Arthritis can cause deformation, pain and loss of cartilage. With ankle replacement surgery, metal and plastic components replace the affected ankle joint, improving range of motion to reduce pain during activity.

Ankle Fusion

Ankle fusion is a type of surgery to fuse the bones of your ankle into one piece. It’s also known as ankle arthrodesis. The surgery is usually done to treat arthritis in the ankle. Your surgeon will make an incision in your ankle to work on the joint. He or she will then compress the bones together and attach them with plates, nails, screws, or other hardware.

Ligament Reconstruction

Ankle ligament reconstruction surgery is usually carried out to treat sprains and instability. The procedure itself involves one incision (cut) on the outside of the ankle to allow the surgeon to locate the scar tissue from the torn ligament near the fibula bone, and carry out a repair with stitches to the bone.

Achilles Tendon Rupture Surgery

The Achilles tendon is a strong, fibrous cord in the lower leg. It connects the muscles of your calf to your heel. It’s the largest tendon in your body. It helps you walk, run, and jump. Achilles tendon repair surgery is a type of surgery to fix a damaged Achilles tendon.

Recovery From Surgery

How Long Does It Take To Recover?

Recovery time depend on your condition before surgery, and surgical operation you did to treat your ankle injury. Each injury is different and every body heals at its own pace, but it will take at least six weeks for your bones to heal. Usually it takes 6-12 weeks to recover.

However, even after that period, you will have to be very carefully with your ankle since it will be very easy to injure it again. To do some sports, it could take up to 6 months, especially if those are some extreme sports.

After the Surgery

In most of the cases, you can leave hospital the same or the next day after the surgery. Surgeon will give you some advice to keep ankle safe and maybe prescript some pain medicine since it can be very painful few days after surgery. Also, after surgery you won’t be able to move your leg. You will get a cast or a boot and wear it for ankle safety.

At Home

ankle rehab home

First few days of coming home, the most important thing you need to do is to look after your ankle so it do not get injured again. You will have to keep your dressing dry because wound is still fresh and there are still stitches inside.

Depends on what your surgeon said, you may need to change bandages every 2-3 days. For that, you will go either to a doctor or if surgeon said so, you can do it by yourself. Keep your ankle elevated as much as possible and treat with ice as needed for pain and swelling. After 7-10 days, you will go to your surgeon to remove stitches from incision.

As your ankle is still weakened, prepare not to walk without crutches, a walker or leg scooter for 2-4 weeks. It’s always important to keep your ankle safe. After about 4 weeks, your doctor may advice you of getting a walking cast or boot. With that, you will be able to walk without danger for ankle. You can take it off when you are sleeping or showering. Depending on condition, you can wear boots even up to 16 weeks if you had big injury.

Physical Therapy

Your surgeon will suggest you to go on physical therapies. This is very important part of every rehab, so it’s for ankle surgery rehabilitation. Depending on your condition, you may go to physical therapy from 4-6 weeks, sometimes even more. The main goal of physical therapy is bring back strength, motion, and flexibility of your ankle. Physical therapist may also give you some exercises to do at home and improve your recovery time.

Driving a Car

drive a car after surgery

Prepare your family and friends to help you with everything. You won’t be able to drive a car for a while. Don’t worry about this, as you heal, after 2-3 months, sometimes earlier, you will be able to drive a car. Whatever you need, ask your friends and family because we do not want you to get hurt again.

Going Back to Work

When you will be able to work again mostly depends on type of job you are doing. If you work in an office by a desk, you could go to job earlier, even after 2 months. But mostly, it will take more time. If you are doing job where a lifting high-weights is needed prepare to be out of job for at least 3-4 months. Also, always be in touch with your boss and tell them all the information you find out about getting back to work so he can expect your returning.

healing after ankle surgeryImportant Things To Speed Recovery

  • Rest

As difficult as it may be with a busy schedule, it is vital to give your body the resting time it needs to recover.

  • Ice

Ice is a fantastic way to reduce swelling by reducing blood flow to the affected area. Simply placing a bag of crushed ice on your ankle is effective, but don’t leave it on for extended periods. If you notice redness under the ice pack, remove it for a short while.

  • Compression

After surgery, you will have to change your dressings every 2-3 days. Keep the dressings dry and wrapped snugly, but not so tight as to compromise circulation in the area.

  • Elevation

Keep your ankle elevated as much of the time as possible. Elevation helps reduce blood flow to the area, keeping swelling to a minimum. If you can keep your ankle elevated above your heart, even better.

  • Keep Ankle Isolated

Keep ankle isolated as much as possible. Don’t do anything until your doctor said so. Be very carefully because it needs time to heal.


Exercising is very important to improve your healing. Your physical therapist will train with you and show you some exercises to do at home. It’s always good to know some more exercises, not all exercises fits to everybody.

In the video below you can see which are the best exercises for ankle surgery recovery.

Important notice: Stay as healthy as possible, especially in physical way. Try to put yourself to training activities when you recover. It’s always better if your whole body is in great condition so you can avoid injuries.

Equipment You Might Need

We have already mentioned some equipment, but to make it easier for you, we will write a list of equipment below:

  • Ankle Compression Brace
  • Cast or a Boot
  • Crutches
  • A Walker
  • Bandages
  • Ice Packs
  • Stretching Strap
  • Even more if your physical therapist suggest you

Wish You Luck

We tried to explain everything you need to know for recovery after ankle surgery. Important thing is that you always need to listen to your doctors at first. We are giving you information and recommendations that we think may help you. It is our main goal to help you and reduce your recovery time.

Wish you luck with your recovery! We would appreciate if you give us feedback about your recovery so we can share as much advises as possible with other people who might need it.

If you have any questions about recovery after ankle surgery or any other question, feel free to ask us via comment, e-mail (, or via our FB Page. Feel free to leave Like, Share and Comment.


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