Severe arthritis of the ankle is one of the leading causes of chronic disability in North America today. When non-surgical treatments failed to provide relief, a podiatrist often had to turn to ankle fusion as a last ditch option for treating severe ankle arthritis.
Ankle fusion has always been an effective in providing long-term relief from debilitating pain hence, improved foot functioning. This has its downside and permanently fusing the ankle prevents it from performing its normal function. It immobilizes the ankle and can even lead to the degeneration of nearby joints.
Ideal candidates for ankle replacement surgery are those who are generally in good health and free from infection. They must have active control and sensation over the foot and ankle. And finally, all non-surgical treatments has been exhausted. A podiatrist can help identify possible treatment options for ankle arthritis. The doctors at Long Island Foot and Ankle Group are podiatrists who specializes in helping people with ankle arthritis and treating foot disorders.
What happens during ankle replacement surgery?
During surgery, the patient is given anesthesia to desensitize the area. An incision is then made on the side or top of the ankle. The surgeon then removes the damage cartilage and bone. The surrounding foot structures (lower ends of the tibia and fibula and foot bone) are reshaped to prepare for the insertion of the new joint parts. Screws are used to secure the ankle replacement to the bones.
Patients usually stay for one to three days after surgery. This is to ensure that artificial ankle is secure and to observe for any possible complications from surgery. The foot is placed in a splint to provide support and immobilize the foot. Patients are advised to avoid placing weight on the foot until the wound has properly healed and they have regained normal foot strength.
A rehabilitation program of 2 to 3 weeks is recommended. Physical therapy exercises are performed to gradually increase muscle strength and help the patient regain full movement in the ankle. Full recovery can take up to 6 months. After this, patients can expect better mobility in the ankles and pain relief. Patients are then able to resume their normal daily activities but are advised to avoid high impact activities such as running or basketball.
At Long Island Foot and Ankle Group with offices located in Valley Stream and Lake Success, we specialize in helping people suffering from ankle arthritis. To schedule an appointment phone Valley Stream (516) 825-4070 or Lake Success (516) 327-0074.