Arthroscopy is a type of surgery that uses a miniature camera (arthroscope) and surgical tools to examine and/or repair the tissues inside or around your ankle or other joints in your foot. This minimally invasive surgery enables the foot and ankle surgeon to detect any problems and make repairs without needing to make large incisions in the skin and through tissue. That means less pain and a faster recovery than with open surgery.

Arthroscopic Surgery of the Foot

Minimally Invasive Foot Surgery

Arthroscopy can be used to treat joint problems within the bones of the feet and toes. Endoscopy, a similar type of minimally invasive surgery, can be used to treat plantar fasciitis by making an incision in the plantar fascia ligament to release the tension and relieve pain.

During minimally invasive foot surgery, regional anesthesia is used to numb the leg and ankle area, as well as medicine that will help you to relax during the operation. The surgeon then inserts the arthroscope into the affected joint through a small incision. The arthroscope is connected to a video monitor that allows the surgeon to see the inside of the joint and inspect all the surrounding tissue including cartilage, bones, tendons, and ligaments.

Arthroscopic Ankle Surgery

Minimally invasive ankle surgery is used to treat a variety of conditions, including:

  • Ankle arthritis
  • Ankle fractures
  • Ankle instability
  • Ankle impingement (inflammation of the bone or soft tissue at the front or back of the ankle)
  • Arthrofibrosis (scar tissue within the ankle)
  • Infection of the joint space
  • Loose cartilage, bone, and scar tissue
  • Osteochondral defects (damaged cartilage and bone in the ankle joint)
  • Synovitis (inflammation of the soft tissue lining of the ankle joint)
  • Generalized ankle pain

The advantages of arthroscopic surgery are less pain and stiffness, fewer complications, and – since the incisions are small – a faster recovery period.

Endoscopic Plantar Fasciotomy (EPF)

EPF is a minimally invasive surgical alternative for chronic plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toe. EPF is used to release a tight or contracted plantar fascia in cases that don’t respond to aggressive conservative, nonsurgical treatment.

This outpatient procedure only takes 15 to 20 minutes to perform and can be done with general anesthesia or sedation. It involves making a small incision (roughly one centimeter) on either side of the heel. A surgical scope is then placed in one incision and a small surgical hook is placed in the other incision. While fully visualizing the plantar fascia with the camera, the surgeon uses the hook to cut a portion of the fascia. The hook and the camera are then removed, and the incisions are closed with one or two stitches.  During recovery, the cut portion of the fascia lengthens about one inch and heals in this position.

Currently, EPF is the most common surgery performed for plantar fasciitis.

If you have a foot or ankle injury or condition that needs surgery, our podiatrist will let you know if you are a candidate for minimally invasive foot and ankle surgery. For an appointment with one of our foot doctors, contact Cincinnati Foot & Ankle by calling us at the location nearest to you or request an appointment online.

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