Instructions for after your Ankle Lateral Ligament Reconstruction Surgery


In the First 24 Hours

Try and keep your leg elevated. The foot should be above the level of your hip as much as possible.

Take regular pain relief. Paracetamol and an anti-inflammatory (like Voltaren) are the best combination for pain relief. Occasionally stronger pain relief may be required but should be used only for a couple of days if possible.

The pain will increase when the local anaesthetic wears off (usually around 6-8 hours) so take the pain relief before it gets too sore.

The bulky compression bandage on your leg can generally be removed 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Leave the other dressings in place for 10 to 14 days.

Walking Aids

You will be given some crutches at the time of the surgery. You can come off the crutches as soon as you feel confident. If you have been treated with a plaster after your surgery you may need to use the crutches until the plaster is removed.

Casts and Moon-boots

If your ligament reconstruction has been augmented with an internal brace then it is unlikely that you will be in a cast or a moon-boot. In this situation you can gently start mobilising as comfort allows. You can start working on ankle movements. You could be fully weightbearing and be off crutches. You can gradually increase your walking distance as pain allows.

If you have been treated with a cast then generally this will be left on for the first two weeks. At which point you will be converted into a moon-boot that you will stay in for a further month.

Discharge from Hospital

Lateral ligament reconstruction of the ankle is generally performed as a day procedure. Occasionally if you have had other combined surgeries you may stay in overnight.

Stitches or Sutures

Sutures for the lateral ligament reconstruction are dissolvable and do not require removal. If you have had an ankle arthroscopy then you may require removal of sutures at your first appointment.

The First Week

Continue with regular pain relief. Try and avoid anti-inflammatories (such as Diclofenac/Voltaren, Ibuprofen etc) after you leave the hospital as this can slow down the bone healing.

Elevation is still very important. Swelling from excessive standing or sitting puts pressure on the wounds causing pain and increasing the chance of a wound complication such as an infection etc.

Gradually increase your activity after the first week.

 What to Watch Out For?

If you have concerns in the first few days after discharge, you can call Manuka Street Hospital on (03) 548 8566 for advice. Staff are on the ward 24 hours of the day.

If you develop calf pain, chest pain, shortness of breath then you need to either see your GP promptly or be seen in an Emergency Clinic/Hospital.

Follow-up Appointment

You should be provided with an appointment time for follow-up around 2 to 3 weeks following your surgery.

If you have any concerns or need to alter your appointment please contact Mr Peterson’s rooms on (03) 539 0988. Your follow-up will be at the Collingwood Centre, level 1, 105 Collingwood St, Nelson.

Click here to download the instructions as a pdf