Time takes its toll on all of us. Our bodies get more fragile and susceptible to damage, especially those parts of our bodies that do a lot of work, like our ankles. We put a lot of pressure and stress on our ankles every day, week, month, and year. As years go by, conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can damage the smooth cartilage around the ankle joints, causing discomfort, swelling, and physical abnormalities.
Mild or moderate cases of ankle pain caused by arthritic conditions can often be treated with pain medications, orthotic shoe and foot inserts, physical therapy, or corticosteroid injections. More advanced cases may require an ankle fusion procedure in which a surgeon anchors your foot to your ankle with screws so a new bone can grow in about 12 to 14 weeks while you wear a custom cast for support.
However, in severe cases of ankle pain that do not respond to other, less invasive treatments, a podiatrist may recommend ankle replacement surgery.
What is Ankle Replacement Surgery?
An ankle replacement requires removal of tibia and talus bones and replacement with plastic or metal components. As an invasive surgical procedure, it will likely take place in a hospital setting and require general anesthesia.
During the procedure, the surgeon makes an incision through the skin and muscle of your ankle, after which he or she will remove the damaged portions of your shinbone and talus. The surgeon will then attach the new metal joint surfaces into the pieces of your remaining bones and may also insert a piece of plastic between the new metal joint spaces, so they can easily glide against each other.
What Does Recovery Involve?
Immediately after your procedure, you will likely experience significant pain that can usually be addressed and minimized with prescription pain medication. The pain will subside after a few days.
Because it is more invasive, ankle replacement surgeries require a brief hospital stay and crutches during recovery for about six weeks. It may take up to six months before you can put your full weight on your ankle and foot.
Success Rate for Ankle Replacement Surgery
Ankle replacement surgery is extremely effective at resolving the pain, discomfort, mobility issues associated with arthritic ankle conditions. The 10-year success rate for total ankle replacements is 90%.
Cost of Ankle Replacement Surgery
While the average cost for ankle replacement surgery in the United States is $23,936, most health insurance plans will cover the cost (excluding copays and deductibles), if your doctor deems the procedure to be medically necessary.
JAWSpodiatry: Your Hollywood, Florida Foot and Ankle Specialists
At JAWSpodiatry, we know that no one wants to have surgery if they don’t have to, but if surgery is necessary, our experienced podiatrists will perform your procedure with the utmost care and precision, using the most advanced technology and methods. Please contact us today at (954) 922-7333 to schedule a consultation.