Ankle Replacement Surgery


Ankle replacement surgery can be the preferred option for treating patients with ankle arthritis. Technology and technique advancements allow for accurate replacement of the joint with a perfect fit for each patient, good correction of deformity, and minimal resection of bone. This treatment alleviates pain from arthritis while preserving motion at the joint. 

Ankle replacement is a surgical treatment in which bone and cartilage are removed from the ankle joint, and replaced with prosthetic implants. A total ankle replacement prosthesis is made up of three parts: titanium metal components are attached to the tibia and the talus, and a polyethylene (plastic) implant is placed between the two to allow for smooth motion.

The ankle is a complex joint that allows your foot to rotate and pivot in relation to your leg. Three separate bones meet to form the ankle joint: 

  • Tibia (the larger bone in your leg)
  • Fibula (the smaller bone on the outside of your leg)
  • Talus (the bone that connects your leg to your foot)

Cartilage covers the ends of these bones to allow them to smoothly work together. If the cartilage in the ankle becomes damaged or wears down due to injury or disease, the surfaces of the bones will rub each other during movement, causing arthritis  (joint inflammation, pain and swelling). Over time, the bone-on-bone grinding of arthritis can wear away the bone surfaces, causing bone spurs, deformity,  and stiffness in the joint.

Ankle replacement surgery is for patients who are no longer able to manage their ankle arthritis pain and swelling with nonsurgical treatments, such as physical therapy, ankle braces, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and occasional corticosteroid injections. 

Following ankle replacement, activity will be extremely limited for four weeks. After that, you begin walking in a short leg boot. It will likely be six months to a year before you can return to most of the activities that you like to do. Following the healing process, patients can walk, hike, play golf or tennis, and much more. Low impact activities are recommended.

Do you need an ankle replacement? Dr. Gordon Bennett will walk you through the process and get you back on your feet.