Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery in Des Moines & Mason City

Our team of Iowa ankle surgeons at EVFAS in Des Moines and Mason City utilize the latest technologies and procedures to serve the foot and ankle needs of Iowans. This includes arthroscopic ankle surgery. Arthroscopic surgery has a wide range of benefits compared to traditional surgery. Due to it being minimally invasive, patients can experience a significantly faster recovery along with less pain and inflammation. To help you find out if you qualify as a candidate, our specialists reveal everything you need to know about ankle arthroscopy.  

What is ankle arthroscopic surgery?

Arthroscopic ankle surgery is a procedure that uses a fiber-optic viewing camera called an arthroscope and small surgical tools to operate in and around the ankle joint through small incisions. Ankle arthroscopy is performed for the surgical evaluation and treatment of a variety of ankle conditions and can have a quicker recovery time than traditional open surgery.

Because ankle arthroscopy is minimally invasive, it can often lead to a speedier recovery, significantly less scarring and fewer complications than open surgery. However, depending on the severity of your condition, the procedure may not be best for you. The leading Iowa ankle surgeons at EVFAS will meet with you to determine the best ankle procedure for you. 

Conditions Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery Can Treat

Arthroscopic ankle surgery is used to treat a wide range of conditions. Although, not all ankle conditions can be effectively treated using this minimally invasive procedure. If you suffer from any of the following, you may be a suitable candidate for ankle arthroscopy:

  • Ankle Cartilage Damage: Damage to the bone by direct impact typically caused by ankle sprains. Many procedures to repair articular cartilage are done using an arthroscope. 

  • Ankle Arthritis: Ankle arthroscopy provides a minimally invasive way to clean/remove the arthritis out of the ankle joint. If you suffer from mild to moderate arthritis, this procedure could be highly beneficial. 

  • Bone Spurs in the Ankle Joint: Bone spurs are tiny outgrowths of bone, typically due to inflammation. Treatment for bone spurs becomes necessary when they start to cause pain and difficulty walking.

  • Loose Debris or Scar Tissue in the Ankle Joint: Articular cartilage and scar tissue can break free in the ankle joint following an injury. The floating debris is referred to as loose bodies which can cause pain and loss of motion. Ankle arthroscopy can be used to remove the loose bodies. 

  • Ankle Instability: Arthroscopic repair of ankle instability is becoming more and more common. It aims to restore normal ankle function, and allows the surgeon to reach surgical objectives with minimal soft tissue injury. 

Diagnosing Your Ankle Condition with Ankle Arthroscopy

A diagnostic ankle arthroscopy procedure can also be used to diagnose a wide range of potential problems in the ankle joint. Identifying the cause of your ankle pain can be difficult as the ankle joint is very complex. The arthroscopic camera enables our foot and ankle surgeons to explore those complex structures of the ankle without the need for a large incision. The diagnostic procedure is typically utilized to assess bone fractures, torn ligaments, and changes to cartilage caused by ankle arthritis.

What are the advantages of an ankle arthroscopy?

Popular among high-level athletes, arthroscopic ankle surgery has numerous advantages. Capable of treating a variety of conditions and diagnosing others that may not have been easily noticeable, ankle arthroscopy enables our surgeons to explore the complexity of the ankle joint with only tiny incisions. The list of benefits to this procedure includes:

  • Smaller incisions and little scarring

  • Minimal risk of infection as compared to open-surgery

  • It is an outpatient procedure

  • Patients can begin rehabilitation soon after

  • Less pain

  • Fast recovery period

Ankle Arthroscopy Recovery

One of the most beneficial outcomes of ankle arthroscopy is the speedy recovery process. Depending on the condition being treated, some patients are able to walk with crutches for stability days after the surgery while others may be immobilized for up to six weeks. Generally, you will be free to go home one to two hours after ankle arthroscopy is performed and be placed in a splint or post-surgical boot. Following your procedure, weekly evaluation by your surgeon will ensure your recovery is on track and next steps will be discussed. Depending on the severity of your diagnosis prior to surgery and the amount of surgical work was performed, you may be weight bearing, partial weight bearing, or non weight bearing. Those scenarios are all discussed in depth with you and your surgeon prior to the procedure.

As with all surgical procedures, there are some potential complications you can face during ankle arthroscopy recovery. If you experience any of the following symptoms, our Iowa ankle surgeons at EVFAS strongly encourage you to contact your surgeon: 

  • Severe pain

  • Nausea, vomiting or fever

  • Inflammation or redness


After your ankle arthroscopy procedure, your Iowa ankle surgeon will recommend physical therapy exercises you can perform throughout the stages of recovery. These may include riding a stationary bike, aquatic programs, towel stretches, toe raises and much more. Your ankle specialist will recommend an ankle rehabilitation program based on your condition. 

Can you walk after ankle arthroscopy surgery?

The majority of patients are able to walk on their own after the first two weeks of the ankle arthroscopy recovery process. Depending on your condition and the preference of your ankle specialist, the four to six weeks following those first two of immobilization, you will be able to walk with the support of a boot or cast. 

Choose Iowa’s Leading Ankle Surgeons at EVFAS

Our Iowa ankle surgeons at EVFAS are proud to use industry-leading technology and procedures to treat your condition, ensuring you experience the best outcome possible. Find out if you qualify for arthroscopic ankle surgery. The leading podiatrists at EVFAS are here to treat your foot and ankle needs. Schedule an appointment today, or call our Iowa ankle surgeons with any questions related to ankle arthroscopy.