June 6, 2017
On the Mend: A Step-by-Step Breakdown of Ankle Replacement Surgery
Ankle replacement surgery is a procedure to replace the damaged joint with an artificial one to eliminate pain and swelling.
Similar to joint replacements of the knee and hip, an ankle replacement involves removal of the damaged portions of the ankle joint and implantation of metal components that have specially designed, durable plastic inserted between them.
Ankle replacement surgery is recommended in patients with severe arthritis in their ankles. The main types of ankle arthritis include:
- Osteoarthtis – Known as “wear and tear” arthritis, this type of arthritis generally develops in older adults.
- Rheumatoid arthritis – This system-wide autoimmune disease affects the patient’s joints.
- Arthritis – A general term for injury to the joints caused by past trauma.
If a patient’s arthritis is mild or moderate, other treatments such as pain medicines, special shoe and foots inserts, physical therapy or corticosteroid injections will first be recommended over surgery.
However, if arthritis symptoms are severe and persist to the point where they are interfering with a patient’s daily activities, ankle replacement may be the best option to relieve discomfort.
Ankle replacement surgery takes a few hours to complete, and patients are usually able to go home the same day of their procedure, or the following morning.
Outpatient physical therapy is typically recommended so that patients may return to their favorite activities sooner.