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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Ligament tear of ankle - does it need operation?

    I rolled my ankle and have completely torn the ligament off my ankle, no fibers remain attached. Do I need this operated on to repair or is rehab/Physio suitable?
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  • 1


    Brian Lee


    I graduated from the University of Melbourne in 2004 and have worked in various healthcare settings, including primary care, private practice and community health services, … View Profile

    There are many factors to consider and depending on the discussion, my advice will be different. Things to consider include your age, lifestyle, playing sports or not, activity needs, current function, stability of your ankle etc. If your physio consider physiotherapy is likely to provide you satisfactory outcome, then physiotherapy should be tried first, and if the improvement isn't sufficient to meet your need, then operation is your next step. 


  • Dr Andrew Knox

    Podiatric Surgeon, Podiatrist (General)

    Dr. Andrew Knox is one of the most-highly qualified foot specialists in Australia, holding both a Bachelor of Podiatric Medicine and a Doctorate of Clinical … View Profile

    Most ligament tears following an acute ankle sprain can be managed through conservative treatment measures, but it would be best to seek out second opinion from a local specialist if you are experiencing instability and/or persistent pain. Kind regards

  • 1




    Dr Simon Zilko

    Orthopaedic Surgeon

    Dr Simon Zilko - Foot & Ankle Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr Simon Zilko is a locally and internationally trained consultant orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in all … View Profile

    For the general population, the evidence would suggest that non-operative functional rehabilitation provides similar outcomes to surgical repair of the ruptured ligaments. However, high level and elite athletes have different requirements for their ankles than the general populous, and there is an argument for early direct repair in this population since it's likely to provide an objectively more stable ankle in the future with a greater chance of return to play at the same time point as with non-surgical treatment.

    It's worthwhile seeing a foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon since they can accurately assess your ankle joint stability, evaluate and investigate whether you've sustained any joint damage (intra-articular injuries are common with severe ankle sprains), and provide advice on rehab or surgery. This is particularly important if you have ongoing pain, instability or a general 'lack of trust' in the ankle.

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