Total Ankle Replacement Surgery

For patients with damaged ankles, ankle prosthesis may provide a reasonable option. Ankle replacement is a new procedure designed for elderly patients with low impact activity demands.

In this procedure, a badly damaged ankle is completely replaced with an artificial implant (prosthesis). Because the damaged ankle is completely removed, total ankle replacement can resolve a wide variety of serious ankle problems.

Although not as common as a total hip or knee joint replacement, advances in implant design have made ankle replacement a feasible option for many people.

Ankle replacement offers patients better mobility and movement compared to fusion surgery. By allowing motion at the ankle joint, less stress is transferred to the adjacent joints, which means lessened chances of arthritis in those adjacent joints.

Ankle replacement is most often recommended for patients with:

  • Low impact activities
  • Advanced arthritis of the ankle
  • Destroyed ankle joint surfaces
  • An ankle condition that interferes with daily activities

As with any joint replacement surgery, the ankle implant may loosen over the years or fail. If the implant failure is severe, revision surgery may be necessary.

Recovery from Total Ankle Replacement Surgery

Foot and ankle surgery can be painful. Your orthopaedic surgeon will prescribe pain medication. It is important to follow the care plan given to you by your doctor. Rest, keeping the foot elevated, and not putting weight on the foot are crucial to your proper healing and recovery.

Your orthopaedic surgeon will recommend physical therapy when it is safe to put weight on your foot. Therapy will help you regain strength in your foot or ankle and restore range of motion. Patients can usually return to normal daily activities in 3 – 4 months. You may need special shoes or braces. Full recovery can take 6 – 12 months, depending on the severity of your condition before surgery, and the complexity of your procedure.