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What You Should Know About Ankle Arthroplasty

Medically Reviewed by William R. Adams, II, DPM, FACFAS | December 7, 2021

Medicine has advanced considerably in recent years regarding ankle pain. Doctors can now offer treatments such as physical therapy, ankle braces, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and corticosteroid injections. Yet, sometimes, even these methods won’t completely relieve your discomfort. At that point, it’s time to consider an ankle arthroplasty.


What is an ankle arthroplasty?


Ankle arthroplasty is a medical term for ankle replacement surgery designed to relieve pain, specifically the kind caused by arthritis. If you opt for this procedure, you’ll receive general anesthesia before doctors remove your damaged bones and cartilage and insert prosthetic implants in their place. These implants are typically composed of titanium, cobalt-chrome, and polyethylene pieces that attach to your tibia and talus bones. They also move like a normal ankle joint so that you can remain active.


Are there any risks?


Most ankle arthroplasty procedures are successful, but just like any surgery, they carry risks. These issues may vary due to your age and medical conditions, but generally, they include:

  • Blood clot
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Nerve Damage
  • Development of arthritis in nearby joints
  • Improperly joined bones
  • Bone misalignment
  • Implant loosening
  • Implant wear and tear

Of course, your physician will discuss all risks with you before the procedure.


What should I expect during recovery?

This procedure is typically performed as an outpatient surgery. You may feel some pain immediately after, but we will prescribe medication to ease any discomfort.

Once you return home, you won’t be able to place weight on your foot for the next few weeks. You’ll probably also need to wear a boot at that time. And as you recuperate, your physician will schedule a few follow-up appointments to make sure your ankle is healing well. Eventually, you will begin physical therapy to help regain your ankle’s strength and range of motion.

The medical providers at our Foot & Ankle Center provide the best possible care to patients so they can live their lives without pain. If you want to consult a specialist about your foot or ankle pain, call us at (270) 442-9461.