Total ankle arthroplasty, or total ankle replacement, is a surgical procedure that is used to treat severe ankle arthritis.
During surgery, the doctor replaces the damaged bone and cartilage in the ankle joint with prosthetics.
The goal of this surgery is to improve ankle motion and decrease pain during activity.
Total ankle replacement is an alternative to ankle fusion surgery. Unlike fusion surgery, total ankle replacement attempts to preserve the motion of the ankle joint.
When the cartilage that protects the bones in the ankle wears down, arthritis can develop, often leaving the area stiff and painful.
Arthritis in the ankle is more likely to occur if the joint and surrounding tissues have been injured or damaged.
However, some people develop arthritis from general wear and tear.
Risk factors for arthritis
- Family history
- Past injuries
- Rheumatoid disease
Who may be a good candidate?
Patients with severe ankle arthritis that does not seem to be reacting to conservative treatment methods may be good candidates for this type of procedure.
Non-surgical treatment may include anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, activity modification, and bracing.
It is important to remember that total ankle replacement is not right for everyone.
If the ankle is severely deformed or unstable, fusion surgery may be a better option.
However, your first step should be talking to your doctor about treatment options.
Joshua Hunter, MD
Salt Lake Regional Medical Center