If your ankle joint wears down and grows unstable, a total ankle replacement can restore your mobility. At Ankle & Foot Doctors of New Jersey, in Milburn, Union, Westfield, and Livingston, New Jersey, skilled foot and ankle surgeon Jay Bhuta, DPM, and the team offer total ankle replacement using the most advanced techniques. To learn more about what this surgery can do for you, call the office nearest to you or use the online scheduling tool to book a consultation.
What is a total ankle replacement?
Total ankle replacement is a surgical procedure that replaces some components of your ankle with artificial plastic and metal parts. This type of surgery helps to restore normal ankle movement and relieves chronic ankle pain.
When might I need an ankle replacement?
The most common reason to need an ankle replacement is arthritis-related damage in your ankle. The three types of arthritis that most commonly require ankle replacements are:
Osteoarthritis happens when cartilage (the slick material over the bones) starts crumbling over time. This type of arthritis is quite common in older adults, and it can affect multiple joints, including the ankles, hips, and knees.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. It occurs when your body destroys the material lining your joints, which can lead to significant joint swelling and deformity.
Post-traumatic arthritis is unique because it occurs after an injury. This type of arthritis can develop years after an injury if the damaged bone doesn’t heal properly. For example, you can develop post-traumatic arthritis if an ankle fracture heals with as little as a 2-millimeter misalignment.
Normally, only people with late-stage ankle arthritis are considered for total ankle replacement. So, Dr. Bhuta might only recommend this surgery if you’ve already tried other options, such as physical therapy, orthotics, lifestyle changes, and injections without achieving adequate pain relief.
While arthritis is by far the most common reason for total ankle replacements, you can damage your ankle in other ways as well. For example, if you have repeated, severe ankle injuries and experience chronic pain and instability, you could be a good candidate for a total ankle replacement.
How long is recovery after a total ankle replacement?
You’ll typically wear a splint or other stabilizing device for around 4-6 weeks* after your total ankle replacement. During that time, you’ll use a walker, crutches, or a knee scooter to get around safely.
Most people can bear partial weight on their ankle and gradually return to their regular activities after that period. However, every situation is unique. Dr. Bhuta customizes a recovery plan for you, including flexibility and strength-building exercises as well as transitioning back into your regular shoes and workout routine.
Total recovery, including resuming all the activities you enjoyed before your ankle trouble started, may take as long as 6-12 months*.
Call Ankle & Foot Doctors of New Jersey or click on the online scheduling tool to book a consultation for total ankle replacement.
*Individual results may vary