What is an Ankle Cheilectomy?
An ankle cheilectomy is a surgery that removes a bone spur from the talus or tibia, which are the lower and upper bones of the ankle joint.
The goal of an ankle cheilectomy is to relieve ankle pain caused by bone impingement or pinching at the front of the ankle. While this may be a sign of early ankle arthritis, an ankle cheilectomy is a joint preserving option that may help with pain and function and buy time before additional treatment
Activity after surgery may depend on the size of the bone spur and the degree of swelling or bleeding that occurs during surgery. There may be a period where you may not be allowed to put any weight, or only partial weight, on the ankle. This usually
lasts for 1-3 weeks. Physical therapy is then typically started, and weight bearing and activity generally are increased as tolerated.
Risks and Complications
All surgeries come with possible complications, including the risks associated with anesthesia, infection, damage to nerves and blood vessels, and bleeding or blood clots.
You may experience loss of feeling at the top of your foot after this procedure. Pain may not improve after an ankle cheilectomy, and an increase in ankle pain can occur. While many patients do experience a significant reduction of pain, there is
a risk of recurrence of the pain after surgery as underlying arthritis progresses. However, the overall complication rate for this surgery is low.
Will I regain range of motion in my ankle if the bone spur is removed?
Range of motion may increase after removal of bone spurs, but not always. Soft tissues such as tendons and ligaments around the ankle may still
be tight, and these tissues also affect ankle motion. Often, even if motion is not improved, the pain from the bony impingement improves.
Original article by Heather Barske, MD
Contributors/Reviewers: Robert Leland, MD; John Early, MD
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