Ankle Replacement

Orthopedic surgeons at MaineHealth deliver the highest standard of care for patients having an ankle replacement. Throughout the entire surgery process, patients receive skilled and supportive care from surgeons who have extensive experience.

What is an ankle replacement?

Ankle replacement is surgery to replace the damaged bone and cartilage in the ankle joint. After the joint is removed, artificial joint parts, called prosthetics, are used to replace your own bones.

Who Needs an Ankle Replacement?

Ankle Replacement Can Help with Arthritis

Patients with ankle pain and decreased function from arthritis after various treatments may be candidates for ankle replacement. Treatments that may have failed include anti-inflammatory pain medication, immobilization, physical therapy, and activity modification. An ankle replacement may be performed if the ankle joint is badly damaged. Your symptoms may be pain and loss of movement of the ankle. Some causes of damage are:

  • Arthritis caused by ankle surgery in the past
  • Bone fracture
  • Infection
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Having previous ankle joint infections may prevent you from being able to have ankle replacement surgery. Consult with your orthopedic surgeon to find out if ankle replacement surgery is the right choice for you.

Ankle Replacement Surgery

Ankle Replacement Can Include Hospital Stay

Ankle replacement surgery usually requires a hospital stay of one to several days. After ankle replacement surgery, the recovery process requires a period of time in which the patient should not move the ankle or place weight on it.

To keep swelling down, your foot needs to be elevated higher than your heart while you are asleep or at rest. Elevation for many days after the procedure is necessary to control swelling and improve wound healing.

Ankle Replacement Recovery

Physical Therapy Is Part of Recovery

Recovery includes physical therapy for exercise and range of motion activities. The goal is to strengthen the ankle, restore movement and improve mobility. Weight bearing usually begins a few weeks after surgery if X-rays show proper healing.