The surfaces of the ankle bones are covered with articular cartilage. Damage to this cartilage leads to a condition called arthritis, which results in pain and impaired movement of the ankle. Infection, trauma, connective tissue disorder, excessive stress, and certain diseases may cause ankle arthritis.
Conservative treatment for ankle arthritis involves oral medications and, possibly, joint injections. However, for patients who are unresponsive to conservative treatment, ankle joint replacement surgery may be a treatment option.
Ankle joint replacement surgery is a procedure where the diseased joint is removed and replaced with a metal and plastic prosthetic joint.
Following ankle joint replacement, the patient may need to stay in the hospital for 2-3 days and will be advised on precautions for a successful recovery.
The patient may be limited in their ability to bear weight for approximately 6 weeks. Following this period, the patient will begin to advance their activity and weight bearing over a period of months.
As with any major surgery, there are potential risks involved. The possible complications associated with ankle joint replacement include infection, fracture of the tibia or fibula bone, dislocation of the ankle, damage to nerves or blood vessels, blood clots (Deep Venous Thrombosis), loosening of artificial components, failure to relieve pain, instability and stiffness.