Ankle pain

The Surgeons Perspective

Sophie Lucas came to see me in Dorset at the beginning of 2020 with her father. I soon discovered what an unusual and active family they were. They had moved to the south of France many years before and had generally excelled at sport. Sophie had been competing at National level as a gymnast for many years and was determined to become a PE teacher.

Ankle Pain

An injury to her right ankle in February 2019 put all this into serious doubt. Her ankle pain was treated with physiotherapy, but despite taking it very seriously, did not fully recover. Her ankle remained unstable and unreliable. She underwent a key-hole (arthroscopic) procedure, in Bordeaux, to stabilise the ankle that initially went well. However, a few months into her rehabilitation it became clear that it had not worked and she was still suffering with ankle pain and her ankle was just as unreliable as before.
When I met her, her place at university and career was in doubt due to her inability to do any sport. When I examined her, it was clear that the procedure to stabilise the ankle had not worked which is a recognised, although unusual, complication.

MRI scan revealed an absent ATFL

Second opinions and revision surgery form a significant part of my work and present one of the greatest challenges. I therefore discussed Sophie’s case and scans with colleagues in Wessex and London. We agreed a plan to repeat the surgery, this time with an open rather than minimally invasive procedure and augmenting it with a tight-rope implant.
Sophie came to the UK in February this year, during her half term, for surgery which went very well. She stayed in the UK for a couple of weeks whilst the wounds healed and then returned to France to complete her rehabilitation.
Sophie is now going from strength to strength. She is running regularly, swimming and working at the gym. She has decided to give up competing in gymnastics, but it is looking forwards to discovering new sports when she takes up her place at University in France.

You can find out more about what I do here.

The Patient’s Perspective

Mr Savva was recommended to us by a friend of my Dad’s after my first operation on my ankle had failed and I was still feeling a lot of ankle pain. I had injured it during a gymnastics competition in France and the future looked very uncertain. My University place and career plans were in doubt as I was unable to participate in any sport and the prognosis was poor.

I thought it would be really difficult to arrange to see Mr Savva as we live in France. However, my Dad was very impressed by Mr Savva’s secretary who helped organise everything and answered all of our questions. She even helped arrange the appointment to suit our flights as I did not want to miss any time at college.

On the day I was very nervous and worried but when we met Mr Savva he was really friendly and explained everything very clearly. He made a point of speaking to  both me and my Dad and making sure we both understood everything he was suggesting. I left the consultation feeling very happy as Mr Savva said he could repair my ankle and that I should be able to run and do sports again. After talking with his colleagues Mr Savva contacted us again and we agreed to the surgery suggested. We then arranged a plan to get this done in half term holidays. Mr Savva’s secretary was really patient and helpful, and the hospital was very good as well. We thought it would be complicated as I lived abroad but they made it easy.

When the day for the operation came, I was quite scared, but the hospital staff were really friendly and supportive. Also, Mr Savva came to the room to explain everything again and talk over the after-care plan. As I was returning to France, after a 2 week convalescence, it was necessary to make arrangements for after care and physiotherapy. Mr Savva and his secretary gave us everything we needed and Dad was able to get everything translated and the plan in place. It’s fantastic to be free of my long-term ankle pain.

The surgery went well and afterwards Mr Savva came to my room to tell me all about it. He was happy with how things had gone and was very positive about the future. The after care at the hospital both as inpatient and outpatient were really good and after 2 weeks I came back home.

Following the instructions from Mr Savva I started my recovery and we kept in touch with him through his secretary and direct as well. It always felt like they were available and keen to help.

It is now approximately 4 months after my surgery, and everything is going brilliantly. I am running regularly, swimming and going to the gym. I was able to fulfil all the sports requirements for my University place and am looking forward to starting in September.

I am very grateful to Mr Savva and all of his team; the whole process was really professional but friendly and caring as well.