An ankle replacement procedure is performed by a Pensacola foot and ankle specialist to help treat ankle arthritis, Also known as total ankle arthroplasty, or TAA, the ankle replacement procedure is performed to help you to find pain relief from arthritis of the ankle joint and cartilage. It is a non-invasive procedure that uses a special camera and small instruments that are inserted into tiny incisions around the ankle.

Who Needs This Procedure

Ankle arthritis is a condition that develops as a result of age, overuse, and/or injury, such as a ankle dislocation or broken ankle. Not everyone with ankle arthritis need to have an ankle replacement performed, though people with a more severe case might. In some cases, if ankle arthritis isn’t treated, it could lead to more severe pain, loss of cartilage, and deformity.

A TAA may be recommended by Pensacola orthopedic surgeons when you have extreme pain in your ankle that is not easily relieved by resting. You might also need it if you have decreased function due to the arthritis.

Before having ankle replacement surgery, you might be asked to try physical therapy, wear a brace, or take anti-inflammatory pain relief medications. If these don’t work, the ankle replacement procedure can help you find relief and gain regular motion of your ankle once again. It is also a good way to avoid needing an ankle fusion procedure.

How Ankle Replacement Works

The ankle replacement procedure is performed under anesthesia or a nerve block by your Pensacola orthopedic surgeon. Once the area is numb, your leg is cleaned and a tourniquet is placed on it. This helps the surgeon control bleeding and improve how well they can see the ankle joint.

Depending on the situation, your surgeon may make incisions on the side or front of the ankle joint. After making an incision, some bone needs to be cut in order to place the components of the new ankle joint. They will either be using plastic or metal pieces for the ankle.

If you have a tight Achilles tendon, that might also need to be lengthened to improve your range of motion. After the implant is done, stitches are made over the incision site, followed by wearing a splint. You will also be wearing a cast.

What to Expect From Recovery

After your ankle replacement procedure, you will need to stay off the ankle for some time. You might remain in the hospital for a few days before returning home. The ankle needs to be elevated and you must avoid weight bearing activities.

During the first stage of recovery, you might need crutches in order to stay off the new joint. You may also be instructed to complete physical therapy. If the X-rays show that the joint is healing properly and your surgeon advises you to, you will be able to get back to normal activities within a few weeks.