Brostrom Ankle Surgery

All about Brostrom Ankle Surgery

Brostrom ankle surgery is a kind of operation surgeons have developed in order to help those that have repeated strains or tears of the outer ankle tendons.  Brostrom ankle surgery was developed about fifty years ago in order, mainly, to fix problems of instability resulting from one particular ligament—the anterior talogibular.  Over time, the surgery has been improved and adjusted almost to the point of near perfection with about nine out of ten patients experiencing a complete recovery of ankle function and many of them never experiencing any further ankle problems.

Recurring Ankle Problems

Surgeons provide Brostrom ankle surgery for patients who are plagued by recurring ankle problems from simple strains to outright sprains or tears.  To understand why this area can be such a problem for patients, one must understand the basic anatomy of the ankle.  The connection between the leg and foot, the ankle, is a bridge of muscle and tendons.  The body asks a great deal of this “bridge,” demanding that it not only provide a sturdy foundation for standing but that it also offer amazing flexibility.  Just think of all the stretching and pulling that we ask of the ankle on any given day.  If you play sports—especially running and cutting sports like tennis—the forces that the ankle tendons must withstand are intense indeed.

When the ankle doesn’t hold up to all that we ask of it, the first line of defense is physical therapy.  For many, this process is enough to recover ankle function fully and so long as they do not mistreat their ankles or try to rush back into full activity too soon, the ankle may hold up as good as new from that point on.  For some, however, full recovery can not be achieved through physical therapy alone and either they quickly injure themselves again or never return to a full state of health.  For those that fall into to this second category, Brostrom ankle surgery may be an option and they should discuss it with an ankle surgery specialist.

The Procedure

Brostrom ankle surgery is not a life-threatening procedure but it is a surgery and does require that the patient undergo general anesthesia.  Typically, before the patient is put under, he or she has the problem ankle shaved.  Then they take a little trip to dreamland while the surgeon performs the operation.

The operation still involves the original steps in the procedure where the surgeon shortens the problem tendon so that it is tauter and stronger than before.  Since the original surgery, however, surgeons have tweaked the operation adding extra support by wrapping an artificial support material around the ankle in order to add extra protection against injury.


Post-surgery procedures are fairly standard for what you might expect of a surgery of this kind.  A patient should expect to have some discomfort in the first week after surgery and should try to avoid putting any strain on the foot during this period.  The patient should keep an eye out for any complications such as sudden spikes in pain or signs of infection (like a high fever or discharge).

The surgery typically takes between a fourth and half a year before complete recovery takes place.  During this period, the patient should take it easy on his or her ankle avoiding any unnecessary stresses.  The patient should slowly ease back into normal routines but avoid any intense exercise.  Physical therapy is generally not a good idea during this period unless it is done in a very careful manner.

Most of those undergoing the surgery report having slightly more tightness in the ankle after surgery but are able to return to a full state of activity within six months of surgery.