Ankle injuries can set the stage for osteoarthritis to develop. One of the best ways to alleviate the pain associated with arthritis in the ankle is to undergo total ankle replacement surgery, also known as ankle arthroplasty.
In the past, many ankle replacement surgeries yielded little improvement so most physicians abstained from performing the procedure and instead relied on fusing bones together to improve mobility. Fortunately, today there is a new generation of ankle replacement devices that have a better anatomical design than previous implants and improved longevity. These advanced prosthetics also allow better movement. There is finally an excellent treatment option for patients who need ankle replacement surgery.
The surgeon removes the damaged portions of the joint. Two metal pieces are then inserted into the leg bones—one into the lower end of the shin bone (the tibia), the other into the ankle bone.
After the surgery, patients are “non-weight bearing”—that is, they must not put weight on the new ankle joint and use crutches to get around—for at least two or three weeks after surgery.
Following the surgery, hospital stays usually last for 2 or 3 days. During this time, you will recover from the anesthesia, and from the surgery itself. After the first day recovering from surgery, you will be asked to start moving and walking around.
Most patients are able to go home directly after a short hospital stay. Patients going home will begin therapy at an outpatient physical therapy facility. If the discharge planner determines that home health services are needed, the hospital will arrange for this.
Some patients may need a short stay in a rehabilitation center after they leave the hospital and before they go home. The decision to go home or to a skilled nursing facility will be made collectively by you, the Joint Care Coordinator, your surgeon, physical therapist, and your insurance company. Every attempt will be made to have this decision finalized in advance but it may be delayed until the day of discharge. At a rehab center, you will learn how to safely do your daily activities on your own. Home health services are also available.
After surgery, you will have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon to make sure your ankle is healing properly. If recovery is progressing well, most people resume their normal activities by this time — even if in a limited fashion.
When it is determined that surgery is the best option, MemorialCare offers a range of surgical approaches, from traditional open surgery to minimally invasive surgery. We make your needs and patient safety the top priorities and together we make the right choice.
MemorialCare's team of orthopedic specialists focus on the diagnosis, care and treatment of patients with disorders of the musculoskeletal system: bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Our specialist are recognized locally in Southern California and nationally for their expertise in orthopedics and sports medicine.
The MemorialCare Joint Replacement Centers offer a unique patient experience for those in need of hip and knee replacements located in Los Angeles and Orange County, California. Getting a new knee or hip joint can mean freedom from pain and a fast return to active living. We offer a unique combination of services.
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