Everything you need to know about total ankle replacement surgery
by Dr. Karl Henrikson

Dr. Henrikson is one of OSMS’ orthopedic foot and ankle specialists. While he can treat most orthopedic conditions, his expertise lies in foot and ankle treatment.

A total ankle replacement, also called total ankle arthroplasty, is a surgical treatment option for patients suffering from ankle pain, typically due to arthritis or injury. If this pain is impacting a patient’s quality of life or keeping them from walking comfortably, they might benefit from a total ankle arthroplasty. While lesser known than a total hip, knee or shoulder replacement, total ankle replacements are gaining popularity.

Who is a candidate for a total ankle replacement?

If a patient suffers from ankle pain that affects their day-to-day routine, nonsurgical treatments sometimes do not relieve pain. This might include not being able to go on short walks, frequently needing support while standing, or the ankle pain becoming progressively worse over time. In these cases, a total ankle replacement may be an option. This procedure removes arthritic cartilage and part of the bone from the ankle joint to replace it with a prosthetic joint.

Typically, patients who are older than 50 who do not participate in high-impact activities, such as running and jumping, are the best candidates for this procedure. However, younger patients will also be considered if the surgery is in their best interest.

What are the benefits of a total ankle replacement?

Benefits of a total ankle replacement include:

  • Pain relief
  • Improved range of motion
  • Better function
  • Surrounding joints are not affected

What is life like after total ankle replacement surgery?

Most patients are able to return to their normal activities after a total ankle replacement, as long as those activities do not include excessive stress on the ankle. It is important to remember, however, that the recovery process does not happen overnight, and you must allow time for your ankle to heal properly. This can take up to a full year.

I recommend staying active by participating in low-impact activities such as swimming, cycling or yoga. These types of exercises are gentle on the joints and will prolong the life of the new joint.

If you are suffering from foot or ankle pain and would like to discuss your treatment options, request an appointment with Dr. Henrikson here.