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What's My Ankle Look Like on the Inside?

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I routinely do ankle scopes for patients who complain of chronic ankle pain and traditional conservative care does not resolve their pain.  And I often try to describe why the ankle hurts, but pictures are worth a thousand words.

A normal ankle without any ankle sprains or injury should look very smooth.  The cartilage should have no lumps or bumps and the inside walls should be the same...smooth.  Like looking inside a balloon if you could stick your head in it after you blew it up.

An ankle with chronic injury, arthritis or instability will have some characteristic findings of capsulitis and/or osteochondral lesions.  

ankle capsulitis

This picture show thickened irregular tissue which is the lining of the joint called the capsule.  Because it is no longer smooth, but very inflamed it is called capsulitis.  The silver thing is a blunt instrument used to move tissue inside the joint.

torn ankle capsule

This picture is another example of the inflamed capsule.  Looks like it has been torn to shreds.  This occurs in chronic ankle sprains.

osteochondral lesion

This is a great example of what it looks like when the cartilage is worn down completely.  Looks "hairy", but this area should be very smooth with thick cartilage.  This bald spot can cause significant discomfort.

These pictures were taken during a recent ankle scope that I performed and all of these problems were addressed.  Most often, patients have minimal pain after ankle scopes and have a fast recovery.

If you have chronic ankle pain and have not improved with basic treatments, call me today.

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