If you regularly experience ankle pain and it doesn’t respond to conservative treatments, consider a total ankle replacement. At North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists, Joshua Epstein, DPM, AACFAS, FACPM, and Sarina Epstein, DPM, AACFAS, use total ankle replacement to relieve pain caused by various conditions, including ankle instability and arthritis. To make an appointment in Gainesville or Lake City, Florida, call the nearest office today.
What is a total ankle replacement?
Total ankle replacement is a type of orthopedic surgery that involves your North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists provider removing a diseased or damaged ankle joint and replacing it with an artificial prosthesis.
The goal of total ankle replacement is to reduce pain and swelling and encourage mobility. If you regularly experience ankle pain and it interferes with your ability to work or exercise, don’t wait to make an appointment at North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists.
Why might I need a total ankle replacement?
North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists uses total ankle replacement to treat various conditions, including:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Post-traumatic arthritis
- Chronic ankle instability
You might also benefit from a total ankle replacement if you dislocate your ankle joint as the result of a sports injury, work injury, or car accident.
How do I prepare for a total ankle replacement?
Before you undergo a total ankle replacement, it’s important to prepare in advance. During your initial consultation, let your provider know about any underlying medical conditions you have and about any medications you take, such as blood thinners. Your provider might ask you to stop taking certain drugs to reduce the risk of complications.
In addition, you’re asked to fast for at least 12 hours before your operation, so you’ll need to eat an early dinner the night before.
Following total ankle replacement, you need to use a mobility device like crutches, a wheelchair, or a rollator for several weeks. As a result, make sure to clear out a few pathways in your home for easy navigation. It’s also a good idea to set up rides to and from the hospital with friends or family members.
What does total ankle replacement involve?
During total ankle replacement surgery, the surgeon will begin by making an incision in the front of the ankle, typically about 4-5 inches in length. The surgeon will then carefully remove the damaged parts of the joint, including the ends of the tibia and talus bones, using specialized tools. Once the damaged bone has been removed, the surgeon will prepare the remaining bone surfaces for the artificial joint components. This involves smoothing and shaping the bone to fit the shape of the artificial joint, which is designed to mimic the natural movement and function of the ankle joint. Next, the surgeon will insert the artificial joint components, which are typically made of metal and plastic. The metal component is attached to the tibia bone, while the plastic component is attached to the talus bone. These two components work together to create a smooth and durable joint surface, allowing for improved mobility and reduced pain.
What is recovery like following total ankle replacement?
Following total ankle replacement, it’s normal to experience some mild swelling and discomfort. Take your medication as prescribed, follow your surgeon’s recovery instructions, and attend each of your scheduled check-ups. After the surgery, patients will typically need to rest and recover for several weeks before they can resume their normal activities. Physical therapy may also be necessary to help restore strength and mobility to the ankle, as well as to prevent complications such as stiffness or weakness. While total ankle replacement surgery can be an effective treatment option for severe ankle conditions, it does involve some risks, including infection, nerve damage, and implant failure. It is important to discuss the potential benefits and drawbacks of this procedure with your provider before making a decision. To explore the benefits of a total ankle replacement, make an appointment at North Florida Foot & Ankle Specialists by calling the nearest office or requesting an appointment today.