Ankle Replacement Surgery
What is ankle replacement?
Ankle replacement surgery, also known as arthroplasty, is a successful medical procedure to relieve painful symptoms and restore function and mobility to the ankle joint. If the ankle cartilage is severely affected by arthritis, this can result in ongoing pain and mobility problems. If conservative treatments are no longer effective, your doctor may recommend ankle replacement surgery as way to improve mobility and relieve pain. This procedure is often recommended for patients suffering from ankle arthritis or with ankle fractures caused by osteoarthritis.
During ankle replacement surgery, the damaged parts of your tibia and talus bones are removed and replaced with artificial parts. These are held in place by a special type of cement, and a plastic spacer is inserted between the parts to help replicate the natural movement of the ankle joint. The operation will take a few hours, and you can expect to spend the night in hospital before heading back home to recover.
General recovery times
After surgery, your leg will be immobilised and elevated above your heart to protect it while it starts to heal, and this will also help minimise the swelling. Your doctor will provide care instructions on how to look after your ankle while it recovers, and you will wear a splint on your leg for the first couple of weeks before moving on to a special orthopaedic boot for a further 4 weeks.
A physiotherapist will provide a personalised recovery plan, with a range of exercises designed to restore mobility and range of motion in the ankle joint. This program usually starts at around 4 weeks. At 8 weeks it should be possible to wear normal shoes and begin to return to limited activities and exercise. Most patients have made a significant recovery within 6 months, but a full recovery can take up to one year. Talk to your doctor about when to return to driving.
Other ankle surgeries and procedures
Common ankle conditions
How much will my ankle surgery cost?
Understanding the cost of your treatment is an important consideration before committing to surgery, but it’s not always easy to find the information you need. Learn more about the factors which contribute to the cost of your surgery:
What will my treatment and recovery look like?
Familiarising yourself with your treatment program and understanding the recovery process are important steps to take on the pathway to surgery.