Ankle replacement, or a total ankle arthroplasty (TAA), may be a viable treatment option for adults with severe arthritis that impacts their quality of life. Arthritis is a degenerative condition that causes the joint’s cushioning cartilage to wear away, forcing uncomfortable bone-on-bone contact. The goal of ankle replacement surgery is to reduce pain and increase mobility by replacing worn or damaged components of the ankle joint with specially designed implants.
Who is a Candidate for Ankle Replacement Surgery?
Candidates for ankle replacement surgery are typically those who have not found relief from arthritis pain through conservative treatments like physical therapy, bracing, medication, and injections. Many of these patients have debilitating symptoms that make walking difficult. There are a variety of factors that can lead to ankle arthritis, including overuse, injury, bone infection, or simply the body’s natural aging process. Younger patients with ankle arthritis are often recommended to consider ankle arthrodesis, a traditional alternative to ankle replacement that involves fusing multiple ankle bones together.
What Does Ankle Replacement Surgery Involve?
General or regional anesthesia with a nerve block is given to the patient prior to ankle replacement surgery. The procedure, which usually takes about two hours to complete, begins with an incision in the front of the ankle to remove damaged ankle bones. The remaining bone surfaces are then resurfaced to prepare for the implants, which are crafted from metal and plastic and designed to restore natural and comfortable movement in the joint.
The recovery for ankle replacement surgery varies from patient to patient, but often involves an overnight hospital stay. Patients are usually instructed to avoid putting weight on the ankle for several weeks after surgery.
The board-certified, award-winning surgeons at Orthopaedic Specialists practice the latest advances in ankle replacement to provide patients with optimal results. If you are living with disruptive ankle pain that is limiting your mobility, we encourage you to consult with one of our specialists in the Greater Pittsburgh Region. We offer a variety of evidence-based treatments, from tailored physical therapy regimens and arthroscopic procedures to ankle fusion and advanced joint replacement. Contact us to learn more.