What We Treat

Ankle Arthritis Surgery

Ankle arthritis is a debilitating condition where the cartilage that cushions the joint wears away, causing the ankle joint to become inflamed and painful. Pain, stiffness, and restricted mobility brought on by this condition can significantly impact your quality of life.

Numerous factors, including injury, genetics, and wear and tear over time, can contribute to ankle arthritis. Non-surgical treatments may offer relief in some cases. However, ankle arthritis surgery may be required if other treatments fail to reduce pain and increase mobility.

Several types of ankle arthritis surgery can offer relief for those who have tried previous treatments without success and are still experiencing pain and stiffness from ankle arthritis. The choice of surgery will depend on your age, overall health, degree of joint damage, and personal preferences.

Who is a suitable candidate for ankle arthritis surgery?

Ankle arthritis surgery may be an option for patients with severe ankle arthritis who have tried all conventional treatments, including medication, physical therapy, and injections.

Patients should be ready for a lengthy recovery process that involves physical therapy to restore motion and strength to the ankle joint. If you are considering ankle arthritis surgery, you should discuss all available options with a qualified surgeon.

What should I expect before ankle arthritis surgery?

Before having surgery, you will undergo a thorough evaluation, including a physical exam and imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans. The surgeon will review your medical history and current medications to ensure you are in good health and can have the procedure. Additionally, you will be given instructions on how to get ready for the procedure, which may include avoiding certain medications and fasting before surgery.

What should I expect during ankle arthritis surgery?

Most ankle arthritis procedures last one to three hours and involve general anesthesia. The surgeon will first make an incision on the ankle, remove the damaged cartilage, and perform the necessary surgical technique. 

We provide three main types of ankle arthritis surgery: ankle arthroscopy, ankle fusion, and ankle replacement. The type of surgery recommended will depend on various factors, such as age, overall health, and the severity of arthritis. The final decision is made jointly by the surgeon and the patient.

The main types of ankle arthritis surgery include:

Ankle arthroscopy

Ankle arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that involves inserting a small camera and devices into the ankle joint through small incisions. Bone spurs, debris, and damaged tissue can be removed by the surgeon. This treatment is not a long-term fix and is only used for milder forms of ankle arthritis. The ankle arthroscopy recovery period is the shortest, with patients able to return to regular activities in a few days.

Ankle fusion

Ankle fusion, also known as arthrodesis, involves removing the damaged cartilage from the ankle joint and using screws, plates, or rods to fuse the bones together. This procedure relieves arthritic pain by stabilizing the joint and preventing it from moving. It is a durable and long-lasting procedure that can increase stability and prevent further joint degeneration.

After the procedure, you should keep your ankle immobile for several weeks by avoiding weight-bearing activities on the injured foot and using crutches or a wheelchair for six to twelve weeks. You may also need to wear a cast or brace to support the ankle joint while the bones properly fuse for a few weeks or months following surgery.

Ankle replacement

Ankle replacement, also called ankle arthroplasty, involves removing the damaged joint and putting a metal and plastic prosthetic joint in its place. This procedure can relieve arthritic discomfort while preserving joint motion. It is normally recommended for older patients or those with severe arthritis who are not good candidates for ankle fusion. 

Ankle replacement surgery requires a shorter recovery than ankle fusion, with patients frequently able to start walking using crutches or walkers soon after the procedure. Your doctor will give you a supporting splint that you should wear for at least two weeks. 

Many artificial joints last for many years without breaking down or developing problems with the joint implant. However, a prosthetic joint may occasionally deteriorate and become unstable. After the procedure, your physician can recommend yearly follow-up visits to check on the implanted joint and, if necessary, consider surgical options to replace or repair deteriorating components.

What should I expect after ankle arthritis surgery?

Recovery from ankle arthritis surgery can vary depending on the type of surgery performed and your overall health. You should closely adhere to the surgeon’s instructions throughout recovery to ensure a successful outcome. Physical therapy is also a crucial part of the healing process to regain strength and mobility in the ankle joint.

Schedule your appointment at Novomed today!

Surgery for ankle arthritis can improve your quality of life by reducing discomfort and increasing mobility. 

Contact our knowledgeable team immediately to schedule your consultation and learn more about ankle arthritis surgery.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the risks of having surgery for ankle arthritis?

Surgery for ankle arthritis carries risks, just like any other procedure. These risks can include blood clots, infection, and nerve damage. However, you can lower these risks by picking a qualified surgeon and paying close attention to all pre- and post-operative instructions.

Will I need to wear a cast or brace after surgery? 

Yes, most patients will need to wear a cast or brace after surgery to keep the ankle immobile and promote healing.

Can I walk normally after the procedure? 

Most patients can bear weight on their ankle within a few weeks following surgery, but the amount of weight and the exact timing will depend on the type of surgery performed and the surgeon’s instructions.

How long will ankle arthritis surgery’s results last? 

Several factors, including the patient’s age, general health, and the type of surgery done, can affect how long the results of ankle arthritis surgery last. However, many patients report long-term pain relief and improved joint function.

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