Also known as ankle arthroplasty, total ankle replacement is a surgical procedure for patients diagnosed with arthritis of the ankle. Total ankle replacement surgery can relieve pain, maintain motion within the arthritic ankle joint, and significantly improve your quality of life. Apart from that, ankle replacement surgery acts as a perfect alternative to ankle fusion (arthrodesis).
Your orthopedic surgeon removes the ankle joint and replaces it with an artificial ankle during the total ankle replacement surgery. This artificial implant is usually made of plastic and metal. The main idea behind ankle replacement is to use artificial implants to reduce pain and preserve ankle motion. In simple terms, this medical procedure aims at relieving your pain and promoting better function of your ankle when performing various activities.
Who Needs Ankle Replacement Surgery?
Generally, total ankle replacement surgery is highly recommended for patients older than 60. These are patients who do not participate in high-impact activities and are not obese or overweight.
Causes of Total Ankle Replacement
Many causes are attributed to ankle replacement surgery. The common ones include severe arthritis in the ankle. The main forms of arthritis of the ankle are: –
This form of arthritis of the ankle refers to the “wear and tear” process in older adults
This type of ankle arthritis involves a system-wide auto-immune disease that affects the ankle joints
This is caused by your past injuries to the ankle joint
In case of mild or moderate ankle arthritis, your doctor will recommend other treatment options such as wearing special shoes, taking pain medicines, using foot inserts, going for physical therapy, and taking corticosteroid injections. However, total ankle replacement surgery may come in handy if you have severe symptoms and signs that interfere with your normal lifestyle.
Symptoms of Arthritis
Several symptoms contribute to why your healthcare provider may suggest ankle arthroplasty. Some of these symptoms of total ankle replacement may include the following:
Advanced stages of ankle arthritis, especially severe cases of osteoarthritis
Chronic ankle pain due to injuries sustained in sports or trauma due to a fall or an accident
Limited mobility of your ankle
Loss of range of motion in your ankle
Extreme weakness in the foot and ankle
Multiple ankle sprains during childhood
Severe ankle fractures that fail to heal properly
Total Ankle Replacement Diagnosis
Suppose you suspect that your ankle is injured, has limited mobility, is experiencing chronic pain, or is affected by arthritis. In that case, your next step should be to seek medical advice from professional orthopedic doctors. Your doctor will perform a series of tests to establish the real cause of discomfort in your ankle before choosing the most appropriate treatment option. Some of the diagnostic tests may involve these imaging techniques:
X-ray: The doctor will perform an X-ray test to show the structure of bones within the affected ankle. The images produced by the X-ray machine will provide information about the condition of your injured ankle. From these images, your healthcare provider will decide whether to perform total ankle replacement surgery or use nonsurgical treatment to relieve pain.
MRI: On the other hand, your doctor may use MRI to analyze the condition of your ankle. The MRI will provide detailed images of the internal structure of your ankle. From this information, your doctor will know the type of treatment that your ankle needs. In case of severe cases of ankle arthritis, the doctor may use the MRI images to act as a guide during the total ankle replacement procedure.
Total Ankle Replacement Treatment
After you have established a proper diagnosis, your doctor will suggest nonsurgical or surgical treatment options depending on the severity of your condition. The non-surgical option will come first, as encouraged by your doctors.
Nonsurgical Treatment: During the treatment process, your healthcare provider will recommend using anti-inflammatory medicines, cortisone injections, physiotherapy, and the use of a cane or braces.
Surgical Treatment: In case non-surgical treatment fails, surgical treatment may provide the ultimate solution. Your doctor will certainly consider your circumstances before allowing you to undergo total ankle replacement surgery.
Risks of Ankle Replacement Surgery
Surgical procedures come with their own risks and possible complications. The same case applies to ankle replacement surgery and ankle cartilage repair. Often, these risk factors are associated with infection, damage to the blood vessels, anaesthesia, blood clots, and bleeding.
Post-Operative Care (Recovery) of Total Ankle Replacement
Recovery from total ankle replacement may take between six and 12 months. During this ankle replacement recovery time, you will have to take the following post-operative care steps seriously:
Wear a splint for some weeks
Use crutches for a couple of days or weeks
Follow your doctor’s instructions on how to move your feet
Take enough rest when it is appropriate to do so
Elevate your leg during the first weeks after ankle surgery
Keep all your medical follow-up appointments as instructed by your doctor
If possible, go for physical therapy to help maintain your range of motion and strength of your legs.
Find the Best Total Ankle Replacement Center near You in Sarasota, Florida
Are you looking for the most reliable and professional total ankle replacement surgery? Dr. Christopher L. Dillingham specializes in both foot and ankle surgery. Dr. Dillingham is specifically trained in complex ankle arthroplasty (ankle replacement) using state-of-the-art equipment and exceptional surgical techniques to help you get back to your normal lifestyle.
A simple Google search of “ankle replacement surgeons near me” will certainly direct you to Dr. Christopher L. Dillingham, who specializes in performing the technically demanding ankle replacement procedure, arthritis surgery, and ankle replacement surgery. Schedule your appointment today with one of our doctors through:
Total ankle replacement surgery or arthroplasty ankle helps treat the arthritis of the ankle. This surgical technique helps reduce pain, improve overall mobility and increase joint stability. Your orthopedic surgeon will only recommend total ankle replacement when other treatments fail to relieve ankle arthritis symptoms. Visit Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine to learn more about total ankle replacement details, benefits, recovery, and when to visit the doctor.
What is the success rate of ankle replacement?
The ankle arthroscopy success rate is impressive. For instance, total ankle replacement surgery with the latest types of prosthesis can yield excellent intermediate-term or long-term results in a short time, giving it a mean success rate of about 90%. However, in a period of 10 years, the ankle arthroscopy success rate can vary between 68% and 100%.
When do you start physical therapy after ankle replacement?
You can start walking after ankle replacement or turn to physical therapy as soon as possible. Physical therapy can come in following successful healing of the incisions around the ankle. That is usually about six to eight weeks after ankle surgery.
How long does it take to recover from a total ankle replacement?
Ankle replacement recovery time can vary from one patient to another. However, your ankle replacement recovery time can take between six months and one year. During the ankle replacement recovery period, patients can use walking aids such as walkers and crutches while wearing a cast or splint. The cast or splint plays a significant role in keeping the ankle immobilized.
How long does an artificial ankle last?
In about 90% of the cases, artificial ankle replacement can last ten years. In most cases, artificial ankles last longer than ten years, although some implants may fail earlier than that. This is because artificial ankle replacements can loosen after a certain period. For that reason, you need to take a lot of care when engaging in strenuous physical activities that can cause these implants to get out of position.
About Christopher R. Sforzo, M.D.
Christopher R. Sforzo, M.D. is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship trained in hand and upper extremity surgery. He provides expert care in the treatment of problems involving the shoulder, arm, elbow, forearm, wrist and hand.
He performs many procedures using mini
About Christopher L. Dillingham, M.D.
Christopher L. Dillingham, M.D. is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship trained in hand, shoulder, and arm surgery. He specializes in the treatment of problems with rotator cuff disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome and nerve injury, joint replacement, arthritis sur
About Charles E. Stewart, M.D.
Charles E. Stewart M.D. is a board-certified, Johns Hopkins fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in adult complex reconstruction of the lower extremity. His specialties include lower extremity sports injuries, meniscal injuries, ACL reconstruction, partial knee replacement,
About Philip A. Meinhardt, M.D.
Philip A. Meinhardt, M.D. is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and fellowship trained spine surgeon. He specializes in adult spinal surgeries including reconstruction of spinal deformities, minimally invasive/microscopic spinal procedures, decompression, spinal instrumentation, fusion
After tearing my rotator cuff, not only was I experiencing pain but my quality of life was diminished. Playing golf and working out were painful rather than enjoyable. Graci and I sought out Fellowship trained Dr. Christopher Sforzo and the team at Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine. I was treated non-surgically and am now pain free, mobile and enjoying everything I did before.
- Dennis and Graci McGillicuddy
As avid golfers and tennis enthusiasts, our rotator cuff injuries left us in pain, and unable to enjoy our sport. In researching for the most qualified surgeons, we found that Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine not only had the highest level of training and experience, but they were also highly recommended by friends and associates who had excellent results. We, too, had outstanding…
- Mike Wilton, Bud Polley and Arnie Vance
I was visiting the area looking at property and considering a full time re-location from Minnesota when I was in a traffic accident. The result was a very painful shoulder injury that would ultimately require bilateral RTC repairs. I was unable to undertake regular day-to-day activities or participate in my favorite sport – tennis. It was essential that I choose a shoulder specialist that could quickly set…
- Pat Cooper
Over the years we had seen several orthopedists in town but were never impressed. They seemed to lack knowledge or compassion or both. Then when Liza was in high school, she went to Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine for a minor sports injury. They not only diagnosed her somewhat obscure problem, but explained things in a way that she understood without being patronizing…
- Liza, John and Betsy Kane-Hartnett
As a very busy business owner in Sarasota, having not one, but two, massive rotator cuff tears had a debilitating effect on both my personal and professional life. From my first consultation with Sforzo | Dillingham | Stewart Orthopedics + Sports Medicine, I knew I was in good hands. The surgeons are board-certified and fellowship-trained, which gave me the confidence in achieving a successful outcome. More importantly,…