What is an Ankle Stabilization Surgery?

Foot Specialists perform Lateral ankle ligament reconstruction surgery to tighten up ankle ligaments on the outside of the ankle, also known as a Brostrom procedure. Surgeons most often perform this surgery as an outpatient procedure, so patients often go home the same day.

The ankle allows motion up and down, and from side to side as a hinge joint. The foot and ankle contain many ligaments, strong band-like structures that keep the bones in your ankle and feet tightly connected. On the outer side of the foot, these include the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) and the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL). These keep the ankle steady when walking.

If patients have had repeated ankle sprains or certain foot deformities, the ligaments may start to weaken and loosen. If this occurs, the ankle may lose stability.

When is an Ankle Ligament Reconstruction Necessary?

Patients may require this surgery if one or more of the ligaments has loosened or stretched. This leads to a condition known as chronic ankle instability. It can cause chronic pain, ankle sprains, and an ankle that often gives way when walking or performing activities.

At first, an ankle sprain may stretch and partially tear the ligaments. This first sprain makes further sprains more likely, especially if the first sprain goes untreated.

Certain problems with your foot can make you more likely to develop an unstable ankle, including:

  • Hindfoot varus
  • Plantar flexion of the first ray
  • High Arches
  • General looseness of the ligaments

Your healthcare provider may advise surgery if all other conservative treatments have failed.

How is an Ankle Stabilization Surgery Performed?

During a lateral ankle ligament reconstruction, the surgeon makes a small cut on the outside of the ankle, then the surgeon tightens the ligaments on the outside of the foot.