Total Ankle Replacement

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Total ankle replacement, or total ankle arthroplasty, is a surgery to replace certain sections of the ankle joint with specialized, prosthetic implant components.

An ankle replacement procedure is performed on a patient with significant, degenerative damage in the bones or soft tissues of the ankle joint due to years of wear and tear or injury.

Replacing the ankle joint provides patients who experience the pain and limitation of severe ankle arthritis with relief and improved ankle function.

Indications for Total Ankle Replacement

If your surgeon believes your injury or the extent of your arthritis is significant and nonsurgical methods have not improved your symptoms, you may be a good candidate for either an ankle replacement procedure or an ankle fusion procedure.

You may need a physical examination, X-rays, or possibly, an MRI to determine or confirm your diagnosis. You may be prescribed a nonsurgical treatment plan before your doctor considers recommending you for ankle replacement surgery. At Advanced Orthopedics of Oklahoma, our orthopedic surgeons reserve surgical intervention for patients only after other options have been exhausted. 

Benefits of Total Ankle Replacement

Ankle fusion and ankle replacement procedures are both viable treatment options used to relieve the symptoms of arthritis of the ankle. Ankle fusion, also known as ankle arthrodesis, is a surgery that involves pinning and screwing the ankle's bones to the foot to immobilize the joint.

Patients who undergo ankle replacement surgery and complete their physical therapy, follow-up care, and rehabilitation often experience:

  • Reduced pain and stiffness in the ankle
  • Restored strength and function
  • Restored ankle movement and mobility

About Total Ankle Replacement Surgery

Before any surgery at Advanced Orthopedic of Oklahoma, your surgeon will already have a customized surgical plan and recovery protocol in place for you. If you undergo a total ankle replacement, you will be under anesthesia for the duration of your surgery. Your ankle surgeon will remove cartilage, bone, and other tissues in the damaged sections of your joint. Then, your surgeon will prepare those structures and place the specialized implant components to form your new joint. Once the implants are properly positioned, your surgeon can close the small incisions made in surgery, and you can start your recovery.

An ankle replacement can help patients maintain an active lifestyle. Much like any other joint replacement, the prosthesis will allow you to get moving again. High-impact activities may be limited, and you may need to follow some other restrictions, especially during recovery, to ensure the best outcome and preserve the implant.

Sometimes after years of use, revision surgery is required to adjust or replace the implants used in an ankle replacement. For patients who do not have the more severe forms of ankle damage, an artificial joint is still a desirable option because an ankle prosthesis will allow them to walk and move more naturally.

Choosing total ankle replacement over arthrodesis will depend on the patient's needs and goals. Total ankle replacement is not a viable surgical option for everyone, and our specialty-trained foot and ankle surgeons will recommend the best option for you.

About Ankle Arthritis

Arthritis in the ankle is often the result of an injury or series of injuries. Years of wear and tear on the joint can also cause the development of arthritis. Ligaments and tendons surrounding the ankle affect the stability of the joint structure and may contribute to an arthritic condition.

Because of the degeneration in the cartilage of the ankle joint, inflammation, irritation, and severe pain are common for patients with arthritis of the ankle. If cartilage loss is severe, the ankle's bones will begin grinding against each other, resulting in what's called end-stage ankle arthritis.

At any stage of arthritis, ankle pain is present when bearing weight on the foot or when moving the joint, such as when running, swimming, walking, or simply lifting one's leg. Pain may also be present even when resting or sleeping.

To learn more about ankle replacement surgery or to find out if you're a candidate, please call (918) 494-AOOK (2665).