If you suffer from severe ankle pain as a result of an injury or arthritis, you know how it can affect your everyday quality of life. However, new technology and advancements in prosthetics have made it possible for orthopedic surgeons to offer their patients the option of a total ankle replacement.
Ankle replacement surgery is used to treat patients who have diminished ankle function and who are suffering from severe pain. Ankle surgery can help relieve pain, increase mobility, and improve quality of life.
Let’s learn more about this surgery so you can decide whether it may be a good option for you.
Why Should I Have Ankle Replacement Surgery?
The most common reasons why people need an ankle replacement are because of (1) an injury or (2) severe arthritis. Both conditions damage the cartilage around the ankle, resulting in swelling and pain.
Ankle pain is so common that approximately two million Americans visit the doctor each year because of it. In severe cases of ankle arthritis, the cartilage is almost completely worn away.
Sports and heavy exercise add stress on the joint, making them common culprits of ankle injury. Other causes of ankle trouble include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankle fractures, and obesity.
Symptoms of Ankle Arthritis or Ankle Injury
People who suffer from ankle arthritis or injury often complain of pain, stiffness, swelling, and tenderness around the ankle. People also find that when they try to put weight on their ankle, it is weak or unstable, making it difficult to stand or walk.
If ankle pain goes untreated, it can get progressively worse over time. That’s why it is so important to have a doctor evaluate your ankle problem, to help prevent the condition from worsening.
How Will My Doctor Diagnose My Ankle Problem?
The first step toward diagnosing your ankle problems is to visit a board-certified orthopedist. The doctor will ask you about the pain you are experiencing, will observe how much swelling you have, and will evaluate your range of motion.
Your doctor will then order X-rays to look for bone spurs, fractures, or damaged cartilage. In some cases, your doctor may also order an MRI or CAT scan to get even more information on your condition.
What Is Ankle Replacement Surgery Like?
Ankle replacement surgery (also called total ankle arthroplasty or TAA) involves rebuilding the ankle joint with metal and plastic components, or prosthetics. In some cases, your surgeon may recommend additional surgery on your tendons in order to improve the range of motion in your ankle.
After surgery, your doctor will recommend physical therapy to help you gradually strengthen and condition your ankle in order to return to your desired activity level. Most patients make a full recovery in approximately 6 to 12 months after surgery.
Is Ankle Surgery the Right Choice for Me?
The first line of treatment for an ankle condition is rest, ice/heat therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. If your orthopedist finds that you have advanced arthritis or a poorly healed complex fracture, they may recommend ankle arthroscopy, ankle fusion, or a total ankle replacement.
For complex injuries or severe arthritis, and to maintain full range of motion in the ankle, you may want to consider ankle replacement surgery. Ankle replacements have improved greatly over time, making the surgery more successful.
Your surgeon can match you with an implant that is specifically designed to fit your ankle. These custom-fit prostheses lead to a better surgical outcome – and better of quality of life post-surgery.
Each day, there are more and more FDA-approved ankle implants available as options, making ankle replacement the preferred treatment method over an ankle fusion.
Orthopedic Surgeons in New Jersey
Ankle replacement surgery can help relieve your pain, restore range of motion, and return to a more active lifestyle. To see if an ankle replacement is right for you, call our highly qualified surgeons at Orthopedic Associates of West Jersey at (973) 989-0888.
You can also use our appointment request form to schedule your consultation. Our office staff is fluent in English, Spanish, and French for your convenience. We look forward to helping you enjoy a more pain-free lifestyle once again.