Getting Your Life Back On Track

Issue 56

Whether it was caused by getting back to the gym, a winning kick in football or just by lifting something heavy, foot and ankle pain affects most people at some point in their lives.

Mr Rajesh Kakwani is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon and joined Spire Washington Hospital in December 2019, Mr Kakwani sees patients with foot and ankle pain during every clinic. Here he explains the commonest causes of foot and ankle pain and shares some top tips on how to manage acute foot and ankle pain. What are the common causes of foot and ankle pain?

Foot and ankle pain is very common, especially with people that are involved in kicking sports such as football and rugby. It can be triggered by everyday activities, can develop over time, or can come on suddenly for no apparent reason.

What is the solution?

Most conditions settle with non-operative measures, some need an operation. At Spire Washington Hospital we carry out a procedure known as ankle arthroscopy, which allows us to treat most of the ankle problems.

Ankle arthroscopy is a surgical procedure allowing us to treat ankle problems. A small camera is inserted into the ankle joint, displaying an image on a television screen. We then use these images to guide miniature surgical instruments to correct and repair the damage. There are different types of ankle surgery and arthroscopy is applied in a variety of different ways to treat foot and ankle conditions. It can be used to diagnose problems by providing us with a clear image of all the joints and structures inside the foot and ankle.

Ankle arthroscopy may be used to perform the following:

Arthritic joint debridement

Osteoarthritis and injury can result in excessive scar tissue and diseased cartilage in the joint. Arthroscopy helps remove the diseased parts of the joint, along with any bone spurs or loose fragments of bone.

Arthroscopy following an injury

Chronic ankle symptoms can arise following a sprain or injury. The ligaments can be torn and the cartilage can be damaged. This damage can be treated by arthroscopy. Footballer’s ankle

A common problem for people involved in kicking sports – a large spur of bone at the front of the ankle can be painful when the foot is extended. The spur can be removed by arthroscopy.

Arthroscopic Ankle fusion

For end-stage arthritis of the ankle, we can perform a key-hole (arthroscopic) ankle fusion by removing the remaining cartilage, hence providing excellent pain relief. Although the option of ankle replacement is also available in certain cases.


Swelling or tenderness in the foot or ankle

Pain the foot or ankle

What would happen after ankle arthroscopy?

In most cases, we would encourage patients to walk on the foot from the day of the surgery, however crutches may be required initially in the days following surgery. We work closely with our physiotherapy department that would immediately draw up an exercise program. This would be designed to have patients back to work within one week and back to playing sports within six weeks. We would then like to see the patient for a follow up to see how they are getting on.

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