An injury to your ankle can limit your ability to work and have a serious impact on your everyday life. If you’ve experienced an ankle injury while working for your Georgia employer, then you may need an important medical procedure such as an arthroscopic ankle surgery to make a full recovery and return to work. Before deciding if this procedure is right for you, it’s important to know the basics of arthroscopic ankle surgery, the potential benefits and risks, and how an ankle surgery can fit into your recovery.
Your ankle injury and the treatment you need will depend on your situation. However, with any workplace injury it’s important to build a strong case to make sure you can get the benefits that you deserve from your Georgia employer. This means that to get the treatments you need covered, you’ll need to work with your employer and the workers’ compensation system.
We understand that the workers’ compensation system can be challenging to work with, but with the help of one of our expert workers’ compensation attorneys at Gearhart Law, you can build a strong case for your ankle injury and get the compensation that you deserve.
What is Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery?
Arthroscopic ankle surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that can be used to diagnose and treat a variety of ankle injuries. The procedure involves inserting a small camera and other surgical tools through small incisions in the skin around the affected area of the ankle. During surgery, an orthopedic surgeon views the inside of the ankle joint on a monitor which allows them to accurately diagnose and, if needed, remove or repair tissue within the joint. Because no large incisions are required, patients can experience faster recovery times compared to traditional ankle surgery methods.
The biggest difference between arthroscopic ankle surgery and other ankle surgeries such as an open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) is the level of invasiveness. More traditional surgery approaches involve larger incisions to expose more of the ankle for operating, while arthroscopic ankle surgery only uses small incisions to operate within the ankle. This means a much lower risk of infection, nerve damage, and many other complications that can occur during a surgery.
The recovery period after arthroscopic ankle surgery will depend on the problem that’s being addressed. In most cases, recovery can take several weeks or months. This means that even though you may stand and walk comfortably shortly after your surgery, you will still need enough healing time to fully return to your normal activities of work and daily life.
What is Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery Used For?
Arthroscopic ankle surgeries are most commonly used to treat torn ligaments, remove scar tissue, and smooth bone.
When ligaments in the ankle become torn, either due to ankle sprains or a genetic predisposition for ligaments with more laxity, they can become a constant source of pain and instability in the ankle. Arthroscopic ankle surgery is a minimally invasive way to repair these torn ligaments and improve stability in the ankle joint.
Scar tissue formation is a natural part of the body’s healing process and is likely to appear in some amount after injury. However, some people will develop more scar tissue than normal, or experience more frequent ankle injuries than normal. When this happens, scar tissue can build up in the ankle, causing pain and stiffness. Arthroscopic ankle surgery can be used to “clean out” the ankle by removing excessive scar tissue.
While bone is naturally smooth, repetitive wear and tear can cause certain areas to become rough or jagged. When this happens, the rough or jagged portions of bone can compress or otherwise irritate sensitive areas of the ankle. An arthroscopic procedure can be used to “shave” down certain areas of bone and improve ankle symptoms.
In many cases, arthroscopic ankle surgery is also a very effective way to assess and diagnose ankle injuries that are difficult to identify otherwise. Because of this, it’s common for an orthopedic surgeon to identify and repair an ankle injury during the same procedure.
Is Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery Safe?
In most cases, arthroscopic ankle surgery is considered to be a relatively safe procedure that is far less invasive compared to traditional surgery methods. However, as with any medical procedure there are inherent risks that should be considered carefully. These include certain types of infection, nerve damage, and blood clotting problems. It is especially important to talk with your doctor about all potential risks and benefits associated with an ankle surgery before proceeding.
Some of the most common side effects after an arthroscopic ankle surgery are swelling, soreness, and stiffness in the ankle. To minimize these symptoms and protect your ankle during healing, you will be given an ankle immobilizer boot to wear for several weeks after surgery. Because arthroscopic ankle surgery doesn’t require cutting through muscle or joint in the same way traditional approaches do, there are usually fewer precautions after surgery.
Will I Need Other Treatments?
The success you have after arthroscopic ankle surgery can depend largely on the treatments that you get before and after your ankle procedure. In addition to the surgery itself, you may benefit from physical therapy or specific lifestyle changes.
Physical therapy is important to improve mobility, limit pain, and strengthen your ankle joint after surgery. During your sessions, you may perform stretching, strength training, and balance exercises with the supervision of a physical therapist. Eventually, you will practice specific activities related to your work duties and learn strategies to prevent future ankle injuries from occurring.
Making targeted lifestyle changes can also help to ensure a successful recovery after arthroscopic ankle surgery. For example, dietary habits such as balanced eating and avoiding smoking can help accelerate your body’s natural healing process and help prevent complications after surgery. Other changes such as losing weight and avoiding twisting activities can help facilitate a faster recovery and safer return to work.
To get the benefits you need for treatments such as an arthroscopic ankle surgery, you should have expert legal help from a firm that specializes in workers’ compensation law.
Contact an Atlanta Injury Attorney
If you’re dealing with a work injury and need legal advice, contact the best workers’ compensation attorney in Georgia. Beth Gearhart listens to her clients and cares about their needs. Beth is available every day to discuss your case and review all of your options. She is dedicated to positive outcomes and only gets paid if you receive a settlement. You do not need to pay anything up front to discuss your case and explore your options.