If you have severe ankle deterioration, which can occur with arthritis, an ankle replacement may be the solution you need to resolve pain and restore your range of motion. An orthopedic surgeon will evaluate your condition and determine if a partial or total ankle replacement is right for you.
What are the benefits of an ankle replacement?
Ankle replacement surgery is generally reserved for situations where you have severe joint deterioration because of arthritis. This highly effective procedure can:
- Decrease ankle pain
- Allow you to be more active
- Resolve issues with swelling and inflammation
An ankle replacement is usually preferred over an ankle fusion. While both procedures result in pain reduction, with an ankle replacement you can restore your ankle range of motion. There’s no joint stiffness with an ankle replacement.
Partial vs. Total Ankle Replacement
Partial Ankle Replacement — You may need a partial ankle replacement if you still have some normal ankle function and only moderate deterioration. This procedure involves preserving more of your natural joint components and generally replacing only one surface within the joint. Your orthopedic surgeon can also replace joint-protecting discs with new plastic spacers for enhanced joint function.
Total Ankle Replacement — A total ankle replacement surgery may be necessary if you have more severe arthritic deterioration and little to no ankle function. With a total ankle replacement, your orthopedist removes all damaged portions of your shinbone and talus. Your orthopedist places metal rods in your leg bones and attaches new metal joint surfaces to replace all parts they had to remove. They also insert medical-grade plastic discs between the new joint surfaces and make any other necessary repairs before closing up the incision.
How long is recovery after an ankle replacement?
It’s important to avoid bearing weight on your ankle after a partial or total ankle replacement procedure. A short hospital stay may be necessary. You likely will need to use a splint and crutches for at least several weeks after the procedure. In many cases, you can start bearing about 50% of your body weight on the treated ankle in about four weeks. It may take 8-12 weeks for you to be able to put all of your weight on your ankle. Regular physical therapy is needed to help you heal quickly and to restore your full range of motion.
If you think you need an ankle replacement or would like a second opinion, call us to arrange a consultation.