Total ankle arthroplasty (total ankle replacement) is a surgical procedure used to relieve pain and restore movement to damaged and arthritic ankle joints. Severe pain, stiffness, limited range of motion and an eventual loss of function of the ankle can limit both mobility and quality of life. During a total ankle replacement, the damaged ankle joint is surgically removed and replaced with an artificial replacement joint, which helps restore function and motion to the joint.
Ankle fusion is the other surgical option for severe ankle arthritis. There are pros and cons of both procedures, which should be discussed to select which procedure is right for each patient. After a total ankle replacement procedure, most patients experience significant relief from pain, and increased movement at the ankle joint. Physical therapy is an essential part of the recovery process after a total ankle replacement in helping to restore movement and mobility to the ankle and return the patient to an active lifestyle.