When To Consider Ankle Replacement
When you think of total joint replacement, you are probably more likely to think of your knees, hips, or shoulders than your ankles. Though less common than some other joint replacement procedures, total ankle replacement has the same goal: to increase mobility and alleviate joint pain due to arthritis.
It may be time for you to consider a total ankle replacement if:
- You have intense ankle pain that keeps you awake at night or wakes you up.
- You have ankle pain that limits your daily activities, like standing, walking, or climbing stairs.
- You have noticed weakness and/or decreased range of motion in your ankle.
- You have tried conservative treatment options for ankle pain with no success.
The bottom line is that ankle replacement surgery is a last resort for dealing with arthritic ankle pain. However, if you have tried conservative treatment options with no success and persistent ankle pain is interfering with your life and limiting your daily activities, it is time to talk with your doctor about an ankle replacement.
What to Expect From Your Total Ankle Replacement
Dr. Marvin R. Brown, board certified orthopedic surgeon and foot and ankle specialist, and real total ankle patient Bettye Dubbe discuss what to expect from a total ankle replacement.
What is Ankle Replacement?
When the articular cartilage surrounding your ankle joint (where the tibia meets the talus) is damaged beyond repair, most often due to arthritis that has occurred as a result of previous injury to the ankle joint, ankle replacement surgery seeks to remove the damaged portion of the ankle joint and replace it with an artificial component to increase range of motion and alleviate ankle pain.
TOTAL ANKLE REPLACEMENT
A total ankle replacement (or total ankle arthroplasty) involves 5 main steps:
- Preparation of the Tibia – The damaged cartilage, as well as a small amount of the bone, is removed from the bottom of your shin bone (tibia) and the new surface is shaped to fit the designated implant.
- Preparation of the Talus – The damaged cartilage, as well as a small amount of the bone, is removed from the top of your ankle bone (talus) and the new surface is shaped to fit the designated implant.
- Positioning of Tibia Implant – A metal implant is positioned on the cut end of the tibia and cemented into place.
- Positioning of Talus Implant – A metal implant is positioned on the cut end of the talus and cemented into place.
- Spacing – A plastic spacer is inserted between the two metal implants to provide a smooth gliding surface, acting in place of cartilage for the artificial ankle.
with a TSAOG Ankle Replacement Specialist