A Total Ankle Replacement Might Be The Solution For Your Arthritis If You're A Suitable Candidate

11 October 2019
 Categories: , Blog


When you have ankle arthritis, your podiatrist may recommend a brace or special shoes that stabilize your ankle to help you manage pain. A brace along with anti-inflammatory and pain medications may control ankle pain for a long time. However, since arthritis tends to be progressive, the usual treatments for ankle arthritis may eventually stop working. Then, your doctor may recommend total ankle replacement surgery. Here are some considerations your doctor may make when determining if this is the right surgery for you.

Your Age And Activity Level

Fusion surgery is another option to consider for ankle arthritis. Your doctor might recommend fusion surgery if you're young or if you're active in sports such as running. If you're older and less active, you may be a better candidate for a total ankle replacement. Fusion surgery tends to last longer, so that's part of the reason they are often done in younger people. However, the drawback to fusion surgery is that some ankle movement is lost due to fusing bones together in the joint area.

When you have a total ankle replacement procedure instead, you retain more normal movement of your ankle. Since your ankle performs normally after replacement surgery, the risk of excessive pressure on other joints, as happens with fusion surgery, is avoided.

Your Ankle Anatomy And General Health

Even if you're older and less active, you might not be a good candidate for a total ankle replacement. Your doctor will examine your ankle thoroughly and look for problems with bone alignment, nerve damage, or problems with tendons or ligaments that might prevent a successful outcome with an ankle replacement. Your general health is considered too as well as your weight since obesity might prevent you from having the surgery.

If your examination results help the doctor determine that you're a good candidate for the surgery, then you should prepare yourself and your home for a long recovery period. It may take many months until you've fully recovered, but being able to walk without pain and regaining your mobility will probably make the ordeal of surgery worthwhile.

Your ankle replacement should last for several years as long as you comply with your doctor's orders for activity restrictions and keep your weight under control. If the pain from arthritis is interfering with your ability to walk or work, or if the pain limits your lifestyle and mobility, talk to your podiatrist about having ankle replacement surgery. If less invasive treatments no longer help, then surgery might be the right way to treat your arthritis pain and improve the quality of your life.