Ankle Replacement

Definition | What is an Ankle Replacement?

An Ankle Replacement, also called a Total Ankle Replacement or Total Ankle Arthroplasty, is an operation where the joint structures are replaced by plastic and metal components.

The surfaces of the bones in the ankle joint (the tibia and talus) are polished then plated with metal fittings. A plastic surgical bearing is then placed between the metal to cushion the surfaces against one another.

The most common reason for needing an Ankle Replacement is severe osteoarthritis. The operation takes about two hours and is usually performed under general anaesthesia.

Ankle replacement preserves the movement of the ankle joint and relieves pain. This allows for a more normal walking pattern and reduces the risk of secondary arthritis in the joints around the ankle. Ankle arthrodesis is an alternative to ankle replacement.

It takes weeks to months to recover from an ankle replacement, and during this time physiotherapy rehabilitation is required.

Diagram of an Ankle looking from the front. It shows an Ankle with Arthritis
Diagram of an Ankle looking from the front. It shows an Ankle with Arthritis
20 January, 2012