Foot & Ankle Surgery located in Fort Worth and Weatherford, TX
Total ankle replacement, also known as total ankle arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure that foot and ankle surgeons use to treat ankle arthritis. Arthritic changes may be a result of normal wear and tear due to aging or from an injury such as a broken ankle or dislocation. Arthritis eventually leads to loss of cartilage, pain, and/or deformity. This can cause symptoms like severe pain, inflammation, and stiffness, which can lead to difficulty walking.
In this procedure, the ankle joint is removed and replaced with an artificial implant made of metal and plastic. The goal of ankle replacement is to provide pain relief while preserving ankle motion so the patient has less pain and better function during activity. If your arthritis is not yet severe, arthroscopic debridement might be a better choice. Ankle fusion is another choice for people with severe arthritis of their ankle. Each of these choices has its own risks and benefits.
After your surgery, you will probably need to wear a splint or cast for a couple of weeks. You might also need to use crutches for several weeks. Your healthcare provider will give you instructions about how to move your foot while you recover. It may be helpful to rest and elevate your leg for the first week or so after your surgery. You won’t be able to put your full weight on your foot for a few weeks. Once the surgical incision heals you may be able to begin early range of motion exercises depending on if other procedures were performed at the same time as the total ankle replacement.
Some people do need a second ankle surgery. Over time, the plastic and metal parts in the joint replacement may wear out. You can preserve your prosthetic ankle by maintaining a healthy body weight. You can also avoid high-impact activities that put too much strain on the joint.