Your podiatric surgeon may recommend ankle replacement surgery if your ankle joint is severely damaged. Common causes of this kind of damage include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, infection, and fractures. After surgery, most patients experience significantly less pain and better mobility. If your podiatrist has recommended ankle surgery, here is what you need to know.
Ankle Replacement Candidates
Although only your podiatric surgeon can determine if ankle replacement is appropriate for you, most otherwise healthy people whose ankle pain has not been controlled by non-surgical treatments are candidates for this procedure. You must also have normal sensation elsewhere in your foot and have enough skin to adequately cover the ankle. Diabetes and infections can sometimes interfere with the procedure, so your surgeon will determine if ankle replacement is safe for you if you have these conditions.
Ankle Replacement Procedure
Before surgery, you will receive either general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia so you don’t feel pain. The surgeon will then remove the damaged joint via an incision in the front of the ankle and replace it with a new, artificial joint made of metal and plastic. When the joint is in place, the incision will be closed. Your surgeon may leave a drainage tube in place for one to two days after surgery to control swelling.
Ankle Replacement Recovery
After surgery, you will stay in the hospital for one to three days and receive pain medications. Most patients are able to put weight on their ankle after six weeks and then start physical therapy to speed up the healing process and rebuild ankle strength. You may need to wear a protective boot for up to 12 weeks.
If you’re experiencing chronic ankle pain, schedule an appointment at Family Foot Center to be evaluated by our podiatrist in Whitestone. Board-certified podiatrist Dr. Stanley Zawada provides treatment for a range of podiatric conditions. To make an appointment, please call (718) 767-5555.