3 FAQ About Total Ankle Replacement Surgery

According to the CDC, more than 54 million people in the United States have arthritis. Common symptoms associated with arthritis include pain, stiffness, or swelling around the joints. Any joint in the body can be affected by arthritis, including the talocrural joint, which is often referred to as the ankle joint. Treatment options for ankle arthritis include steroid medications and physical therapy.

Severe cases of ankle arthritis may require total ankle replacement surgery. If you need to know more about this treatment option, here are the answers to three frequently asked questions about total ankle replacement surgery.

1. How Is Total Ankle Replacement Surgery Performed?

This type of surgery is performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, a surgeon replaces the damaged part of the ankle joint with a new artificial joint. The artificial joint is made of plastic and metal. Following the procedure, patients will need to wear a splint, boot, or brace to prevent the ankle from moving.

2. What Are Potential Risks of Total Ankle Replacement Surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks involved in total ankle replacement surgery. Some of these risks include blood clots, infection, bleeding, damage to nearby nerves, and new arthritis in nearby joints.

Following total ankle replacement surgery, components of the artificial joint may become loosened, or the components may wear out over time. In either of these cases, patients may need to undergo another procedure.

Certain factors can increase the chances of these kinds of complications. These factors include:

  • Being a smoker.
  • Having low bone density.
  • Having uncontrolled diabetes.

Age can also play a role in the increased chances of complications.

3. What Is Recovery Like After Total Ankle Replacement Surgery?

Following total ankle replacement surgery, patients will need to stay in the hospital for a few days and keep their leg elevated. Upon discharge, patients will have a bandage around their incision. It's not uncommon during this time for patients to feel mild pain and swelling.

For the next few months, patients will not be able to bear their full weight on their feet. Because of this, patients will require the use of crutches or other types of walking devices to keep pressure off the ankle. Patients who experience increased pain, fever, or chills following the procedure should see their doctor as this could be a sign of infection.

Most patients will be required to attend physical rehabilitation, which will help strengthen the ankle and get movement back. If you're in need of a physical therapy clinic, contact Ankle & Foot Clinic Of Everett.