Dec 01, 2010

What Is Arthrofibrosis and How Do You Treat It?

In his latest article, Simon Moyes discusses what is arthrofibrosis, how the condition occurs and how it can be treated.

Arthrofibrosis (‘Arthro’ = joint, ‘fibrosis’ = scarring) is a soft tissue ankle condition characterised by the build-up of scar tissue in the joint, causing restricted movement.


The condition occurs when cobwebs of scar tissue form after an ankle ligament injury or ankle sprain, to criss-cross the front and back parts of the ankle joint – causing persistent pain, swelling and stiffness.

If left untreated, arthrofibrosis in your ankle joint can lead to almost total immobilisation. Any attempt to force the ankle to move will trigger very sharp pain.

Unfortunately, arthrofibrosis is a condition which is poorly visualised by imaging techniques such as MRI scanning, so, while it may be used to confirm whether scar tissue has built up on the soft tissue in the ankle joint, surgeons are more likely to study the movement and history of the ankle in their diagnosis.

Surgery is the most effective form of treatment for arthrofibrosis and involves the surgeon making small incisions in the ankle to shave away the area of scar tissue.

There is a rapid recovery period after surgery, and patients will be able to walk immediately after the procedure has been completed. However, physiotherapy is required to prevent scar tissue building up again and to maintain range of movement.

Simon Moyes is an internationally renowned orthopaedic surgeon. His Capital Orthopaedics team works at Basinghall Clinic in London, with its state-of-the-art diagnostic and surgical equipment, and top sports medicine professionals. Contact Simon Moyes for an expert diagnosis and treatment of ankle injuries.

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