You’re all pumped up when your family and friends tell you to break a leg. But now that you’re injured, you only want to ‘heel.’ Seriously, having a torn ankle ligament isn’t a walk in the park. A simple twist or misstep can quickly become a condition that needs medical attention. 

While you may think that ankle injuries are common when you have a sporty or active lifestyle, tearing a ligament is an often tricky circumstance. This article will walk you through what you need to know about it and whether you need surgery. 

How’s Your Ankle Doing? 

A torn ankle ligament can occur due to a sudden twisting or rolling of the ankle, often during sports or activities that involve jumping or quick changes in direction. It can also result from a direct impact to the ankle such as a fall or collision. 

The prevalence of ankle injuries and the demand for ankle surgeries steadily increased across Asian countries. With the growing popularity of sports and an active lifestyle, coupled with the region’s vast population, many individuals in Asia seek surgical solutions for their ankle problems.  

Singapore, a modern city-state renowned for its advanced healthcare system, has emerged as a prominent destination for medical concerns. The country boasts world-class facilities, highly skilled orthopedic surgeons, and state-of-the-art technology. Ankle surgery Singapore is designed to provide comprehensive treatment options, including minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures, open surgical repairs, and complex ligament reconstruction techniques. 

Classifying Ankle Ligament Injuries 

The ankle is a complex structure composed of bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles. The three main ligaments that support the ankle joint are the anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL), the calcaneofibular ligament (CFL), and the deltoid ligament. 

Sport injury leg pain – woman hurting holding painful sprained ankle muscle. Female athlete with joint or muscle soreness and problem feeling ache.

Ankle ligament injuries can be categorized into three main types:

Grade 1 (Mild Sprain). 

The ligament is stretched or slightly torn, but the joint remains stable.

Grade 2 (Moderate Sprain). 

The ligament is partially torn, resulting in moderate instability and swelling.

Grade 3 (Severe Sprain). 

The ligament is completely torn, leading to severe instability, significant swelling, and potential bone displacement. 

Do you need surgery for a torn ankle ligament? Your doctor will likely need to perform a physical examination of your ankle to diagnose it. Imaging tests such as an X-ray or MRI may also be advised to confirm the diagnosis and determine the severity of the injury. 

Factors Determining the Need for Surgery 

Several factors play a crucial role in determining whether surgery is necessary for a torn ankle ligament. These include: 

Severity of the Injury 

The severity of the ligament tear is a key consideration. Generally, grade 1 and grade 2 sprains can often be treated conservatively with rest, ice, compression, and elevation, also known as the RICE method. This is complementary to physical therapy and bracing. However, grade 3 sprains, particularly those involving complete ligament ruptures or bone displacement, may require surgical intervention to restore stability and proper function. 

Instability and Recurrent Sprains 

If the ankle joint becomes unstable due to the ligament injury, leading to recurrent sprains, surgery may be recommended to repair the damaged ligaments and restore stability. 

Activity Level and Lifestyle 

An individual’s activity level and lifestyle play a significant role in the decision-making process. For athletes or individuals with physically demanding occupations or hobbies, surgery may be necessary to ensure a proper and complete recovery, allowing them to return to their desired level of activity without compromising their performance or risking further injury. 

Age and Overall Health 

Age and overall health are also important considerations. Younger individuals with good overall health may have better healing potential and be more suitable candidates for surgical intervention. Older individuals or those with underlying medical conditions may have a higher risk of complications and may be better suited for conservative treatment options. 

Surgical Procedures for Torn Ankle Ligaments 

If surgery is deemed necessary, several surgical procedures may be employed, depending on the specific injury and the surgeon’s preference. Some common surgical techniques include:

Arthroscopic Repair. 

This minimally invasive procedure involves using small incisions and a camera (arthroscope) to visualize and repair the torn ligaments.

Open Repair. 

In more severe cases, an open surgical approach may be required, involving larger incisions to access and repair the damaged ligaments.

Ligament Reconstruction. 

In cases where the ligaments are severely damaged or cannot be repaired, a ligament reconstruction procedure may be performed using a graft from the patient’s own tissue or a donor graft. 

After surgery, rest and rehabilitation are necessary for the ankle to heal properly. Physical therapy exercises are often prescribed to improve strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the ankle. 


Deciding whether to undergo ankle surgery for a torn ligament is a crucial decision that requires careful consideration of various factors. While non-surgical treatment options may suffice for milder injuries, severe cases or persistent instability may necessitate surgical intervention.