Ankle replacement surgery can sound daunting, especially when you are unsure of what to expect following the procedure. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!
Ankle replacement surgery is a procedure involving the replacement of the ankle joint with an artificial implant to restore proper functioning and relieve ankle pain. This is generally done with metal implants in the tibia (shin bone) and talus (ankle bone) with a plastic liner between them to help the joint glide smoothly. This procedure can be performed on an outpatient or inpatient basis, Most people stay in the hospital one night.
Immediately following surgery, you will likely experience some pain and swelling around the surgical site. Pain medication will likely be administered to help during this recovery period. Additionally, a splint or cast will often be utilized to support your ankle. It is advised to not put weight on your ankle during this period.
In the 2 weeks following surgery, it is recommended to elevate your ankle consistently to decrease swelling and promote healing. After 2 weeks, you may transition to a boot which can be removed for showering, sleeping, and minor ankle exercises. During this time, your ankle should still be elevated a majority of the time.
Once you have hit the one-month mark, you can start placing some weight on your ankle. Physical therapy will also be recommended to help restore mobility and strength in your new ankle joint.
About 2 months after the surgery, your boot will be removed as your ankle is healing. It is still important to continue practicing ankle exercises during this time as your ankle hasn’t fully healed yet. In the coming months, you may even notice that your ankle is feeling better than it did before you got your ankle replacement. However, your ankle will continue to improve for the first year after surgery.
Recovery from ankle replacement surgery can be a long yet rewarding road, and it doesn’t have to be something of concern. With proper instructions and understanding of the recovery process, you can recover with ease. If you have any concerns regarding ankle replacement surgery, contact Dr. Daniel Dean for his expert advice!
Dr. Daniel Dean is a fellowship-trained foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeon. He treats all musculoskeletal pathologies of the foot and ankle in adolescent and adult patients. He has specialized training in total ankle arthroplasty, sports injuries, flatfoot, complex fractures, and minimally invasive techniques in bunion correction.