InternalBrace Ligament Augmentation

At Desert Orthopaedic Center, we are dedicated to providing our patients with superior care without compromise. As part of that dedication, we offer the latest and most advanced treatment solutions, including InternalBrace™ ligament augmentation repair.

Performed by our board-certified, fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon, Dr. Troy Watson, InternalBrace ligament augmentation is an innovative procedure that provides relief for patients who suffer from chronic ankle pain, instability, and recurrent sprains. This surgical technique also helps patients get back to enjoying the activities they love faster.

What Is Chronic Ankle Instability?

Chronic ankle instability is a condition where the lateral, or outer, side of the ankle repeatedly gives out when putting weight on it. This can occur while walking, running, or participating in sports as well as when standing. Chronic ankle instability usually develops after a person has suffered multiple ankle sprains.

When an ankle sprain occurs, ligaments that provide stabilization are stretched or torn. Each ankle sprain leads to further stretching of the ligaments, which results in greater ankle instability. Over time, multiple ankle ligament injuries can lead to osteoarthritis as well as other degenerative changes.

Ankle sprains are one of the most common sports injuries with over two million ankle sprains occurring each year. Roughly 70% of people who have experienced an ankle sprain will suffer another sprain in the future, and one in five people who have had an ankle sprain will have long-term problems. That's why it is important to seek medical care if you have repeatedly sprained your ankle or are suffering from any of the following symptoms:

  • Chronic discomfort
  • Chronic pain
  • Instability
  • Pain on the outside of the ankle
  • Recurrent ankle sprains
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness

Nonsurgical treatment options for chronic ankle instability include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication
  • Balance training
  • Braces
  • Neuromuscular training
  • Physical therapy
  • Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE)

However, if your ligaments have been severely damaged, they may not be able to heal on their own. If this is the case for you or conservative treatments have failed to provide a solution for your chronic ankle instability, a surgical procedure, such as InternalBrace ligament augmentation, may be recommended for you.

What Is InternalBrace Ligament Augmentation?

InternalBrace ligament augmentation is a surgical procedure that not only surgically repairs the injured ligaments but also helps protect them from reinjury after surgery.

Similar to the standard ligament repair, also known as the Brostrom procedure, the InternalBrace ligament augmentation repair addresses the ankle instability by repairing or tightening the ligaments. However, it utilizes the InternalBrace, which is an implant that consists of two SwiveLock® anchors and a collagen-coated FiberTape® suture.

When this implant is placed over the ligaments, it acts similar to a seat belt. It allows the ankle to function normally, but it limits excessive abnormal and lateral movements that can harm the ligament repair as well as protects against future ankle injuries.

Additionally, the InternalBrace ligament augmentation repair provides the following benefits:

  • Allows for early rehabilitation
  • Promotes healthy ligament healing, which leads to an ankle that is stronger and more stable
  • Provides long-term protection against ankle inversion injuries
  • Results in a quicker return to activities

What Does the Recovery Period Look Like?

The InternalBrace ligament augmentation procedure accelerates postoperative recovery and rehabilitation, which allows patients to get back to the activities they love sooner.

The total postoperative recovery period for the InternalBrace ligament augmentation procedure is 12 weeks, which is almost half the recovery time of that of the Brostrom procedure.

Following surgery, you will be in a splint for a few days to allow for the swelling and inflammation to go down. Two to three days after your surgery, you will have a follow-up appointment, where your splint will be removed. At this time, you will also be given a walking boot and start range of motion exercises.

Your next follow-up appointment will be around the third week after surgery. During this appointment, you will transition to wearing a brace with a tennis shoe and start doing physical therapy.

Please note that each patient is different, and the recovery process may vary slightly from patient to patient.

If you are suffering from chronic ankle instability and wanting to get back to an active life, schedule an appointment with Dr. Troy Watson by calling (702) 731-4088. To learn more about Dr. Watson, please click here.

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