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020 8341 4182

You’ll have access to world-class Consultant Orthopaedic and MSK Surgeons, Pain Management Consultants, Sports and Exercise Medicine Consultants, Chartered Physiotherapists and onsite diagnostic imaging with reporting from specialist MSK Radiologists.

Nuffield Health Highgate Hospital is equipped with two state-of-the-art theatres fitted with laminar flow systems to specifically accommodate Orthopaedic procedures. Our theatre staff are highly skilled in MSK and Orthopaedic operations and our nurses are on call to assist with your recovery following surgery.

Foot and ankle problems

Ankle pain

The ankle joint is a complex hinge which allows a range of movements. It consists of three bones which are held in place by powerful bands known as ligaments. The talus sits in the foot and slots directly into the two leg bones, the tibia and fibula, which run parallel to each other.

Pain in the ankle can be attributed to a range of issues including arthritis. There are five types which generally affect this joint, they are ankle arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout and septic arthritis.

Ankle injuries

Ligament injuries

This can happen when a foot twists. It can be very painful and will cause significant swelling. Although the injury is normally a straightforward sprain it is possible to chip the cartilage and damage the tendons around the ankle.

Typically, treatment will involve rest, the application of ice and a bandage. However, if there is no improvement within three or four days you should visit a hospital.

Most sprains heal and don’t cause any lasting damage but in some cases, there can be some instability. Physiotherapy can significantly improve this and ligament reconstruction is also an option in some cases.

Ankle fractures

Breaks and cracks are commonly referred to as fractures. It is sometimes difficult to tell if an ankle is broken or just sprained. If any of the following are present you should visit a hospital:

  • There is significant pain in the bones around the ankle
  • You can’t put any weight on the injured ankle
  • You heard cracking when the injury happened
  • The ankle looks deformed
  • The skin over the ankle is broken
  • The swelling worsens after three to four days

Treatment of ankle fractures
Injuries can cause lasting damage and pain. There is a range of treatments available including ankle arthroscopy, ankle replacement and ankle fusion.

Straightforward fractures are treated by using a plaster cast which is normally left in place for between six to eight weeks. A removable cast or special boot is sometimes used after the initial four weeks so the patient can put some weight through the injured ankle.

A surgical procedure is necessary to treat badly fractured ankles to realign and fix the bone. Wires, plates and screws are normally used in an operation known as open reduction and internal fixation. It is unusual to remove the metalwork unless it causes problems.

It is difficult to predict how long it will take to fully recover as this will depend on the severity of the fracture. In most cases, it normally takes around 12 weeks but this can vary as every case is different.

Chronic ankle instability

Ankle instability is the term used when the ligaments of your ankle become stretched and the joint feels like it is constantly ‘giving way’. Common symptoms include pain, tenderness and swelling. You may also notice that your ankle turns inward or feels unbalanced when walking over uneven surfaces.

Ankle instability often happens because a previous sprain hasn’t healed properly. This puts your ankle at greater risk of subsequent sprains, and each time this happens the joint will become more and more unstable.

Our orthopaedic consultants will check the ankle for swelling and instability, which may require an X-ray, CT or MRI scan. Following diagnosis, they’ll recommend the best treatment to suit your needs. This may include:

  • Physiotherapy and/or orthotics – these aim to strengthen the ankle, improve motion range and balance, and retrain the muscles
  • Ankle brace – this prevents the ankle from turning in and reduces the likelihood of spraining the joint again
  • Ankle surgery – this will repair or reconstruct the ankle joint, depending on the severity of your condition

Our treatments

Our Consultants & Specialists

By taking a collaborative approach to your diagnosis and treatment, the Consultants and Specialists as part of the Foot and Ankle Unit are there to support you every step of the way – from diagnosis through treatment.

Mr Henry Atkinson

MBChB, BSc (Hons), MRCS, FRCS Ed (Tr & Orth)

Specialty Orthopaedic surgery

Mr Suresh Chandrashekar


Specialty Orthopaedic surgery

Dr Pinak Ray

MS, MCh(Orth), FRCS, FRCS(Tr&Orth)

Specialty Orthopaedic surgery

How to book an appointment

If you would like to book a consultation please call us on 020 8341 4182 or fill in the form below.

Contact Highgate Hospital

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