Degenerative arthritis of the ankle joint can lead to joint pain and stiffness. Most arthritis of the ankle joint is caused by previous injury to ankle bones or to the soft tissues around the ankle. The cartilage on the bone surface wears away over time, causing pain, inflammation, and swelling of the ankle joint. Patients with this condition are looking for treatments that help relieve pain and improve movement.
In the past, the main treatment option for ankle arthritis was ankle fusion (arthrodesis), a surgical procedure that fuses the bones of the ankle together using metal hardware, such as plates, nails, and screws. Ankle fusion is an excellent procedure to relieve pain and swelling in the ankle joint, but the fusion prevents full joint motion. After surgery, the limited mobility may change the way a patient walks, which can cause more wear and tear to other parts of the foot, ankle, and knee.
Besides pain relief, ankle joint mobility is very important to many patients who wish to maintain active lifestyles. Total ankle replacement (arthroplasty) is a surgical procedure that meets all of these patient goals – it relieves pain and swelling while restoring ankle joint motion. The total ankle implant (prosthesis) replaces the ankle joint with three main pieces – metal implants for both the tibia and talus bones and a plastic (polyethylene) piece that is inserted between the two metal pieces to allow joint movement (articulation). In addition to restoring motion, the recovery period may be shorter than after ankle fusion. While artificial joints (prostheses) may wear out over time and need replaced, research studies have shown that the vast majority of patients still function well 10 years after total ankle replacement.
The surgeons at Foot & Ankle Specialists of Central Ohio are pleased to assess your ankle and discuss if Total Ankle Replacement is an option for you. Serving Reynoldsburg and all of Columbus.