How is joint aspiration (arthrocentesis) of the ankle performed?

Updated: Mar 23, 2020
  • Author: Steven N Berney, MD; Chief Editor: Vinod K Panchbhavi, MD, FACS  more...
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The ankle is held at 90° or slightly plantarflexed. A divot is palpated medial to the tibialis anterior, which provides the insertion site for the needle. The needle is inserted through an anterior approach. Alternatively, the joint can be approached anteriorly via the space palpated between the lateral malleolus and extensor digiti minimi. (See the image below.)

Medial approach to aspiration of ankle joint. Medial approach to aspiration of ankle joint.

For more information, see Ankle Arthrocentesis.

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