While the ankle is a tough and durable part of the body, often able to withstand a lifetime’s use and function, it is also susceptible to wear and tear. The ankle joint connects the leg to the foot, and is comprised of a surface covered with cartilage at the end of the tibia. The area can sustain injuries, including fractures, or other types of deterioration such as arthritis – that can weaken the joint, cause inflammation, and lead to excruciating pain and limited range of motion. For some individuals, ankle replacement is the optimal way to return to an active, painless lifestyle.
What is ankle replacement?
Ankle replacement, also known as ankle arthroplasty or total ankle arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure carried out to reveal the ankle joint, remove the damaged bone and cartilage in the joint and replacing it with a prosthetic ankle joint made from metal and plastic parts. Patients coming through ankle replacement often can’t believe how much their quality of life improves as a result of being able to walk again, resume exercise and hobbies, and live free of pain.
When is ankle replacement appropriate?
Ankle replacement is recommended for a badly deteriorated or injured ankle joint. Candidates often experience elevated levels of chronic pain and loss of movement of the ankle, making it difficult to walk or even stand. Some common the causes of ankle joint injuries are Arthritis that is caused by ankle surgery in the past, bone fracture, rheumatoid arthritis, infection, and Osteoarthritis. Most candidates are older, with an average age of 64, and are less mobile and active as a result of their symptoms.
Ankle replacement surgery should be performed by a board certified podiatric surgeon, like Dr. Maislos, who specializes in foot and ankle surgery.
What can a patient expect following ankle replacement surgery?
A successful ankle replacement will typically reduce the level of pain in your ankle joint and restore greater range of motion to the area. Not all patients can return to completely pain-free activities, but drastic improvements are expected in most cases.
Following ankle replacement surgery, a patient can return to normal daily activity within 2-3 weeks. However, full recovery of ankle function can take up to 6 months, following a physical therapy regimen recommended for you. Athletes, in particular, may be restricted from certain activities to allow for a longer recovery time and adaptation period, after which gradual increase in activity levels may be permitted. There will be a noticeable scar on the front of the ankle from the incision.
Patients of ankle replacement surgery report that the prosthetic replacement is very durable. Recent studies reveal that after five years, 90% of ankle replacements are still intact. That statistic continues at more than 80% even eight years after surgery. Activity levels will play a role in an individual’s results over time, but those averages point to much long-term success overall.
Dr. Gabriel Maislos, DPM, FACFAS, has performed successful ankle replacement procedures on many patients, helping them regain mobility they thought they would never experience again. He would also be able to tell you if ankle replacement surgery is right for you, or if he advises more conservative treatments before considering surgery. If you or a loved one has been dealing with severe ankle pain, schedule an appointment with Dr. Maislos, a board certified Houston podiatrist. Call (713) 541-3199 to get started today.Houston Foot and Ankle Care accepts all major medical insurance (including Medicare and Medicaid) and offers discounted cash pricing for the uninsured.