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A build-up of scar tissue in the joint causing restricted movement. ‘Arthro’ means joint, and ‘fibrosis’ means scarring. Arthrofibrosis usually occurs when there has been excessive scarring on the soft tissue or ligaments and tendons in the joint.

This scar tissue thickens the tendons and ligaments and inhibits movement in the joint.

How does it feel?

Initially, the ankle joint will feel stiff, but if untreated, arthrofibrosis can lead to almost total immobilisation. Trying to force the ankle to move will feel very painful.


The surgeon will look at the range of movement in the ankle and take into account any history of injury or surgery. An MRI scan may also be used to confirm whether scar tissue has built up on the soft tissue of the ankle joint.


The surgeon will make small incisions into the ankle and shave away the area of scar tissue.


You should be walking again immediately after surgery. You will need to do physiotherapy to prevent the scar tissue from building up again.

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