Is Ankle Replacement Right for Me?

If you have ankle pain due to arthritis, you and your doctor may want to consider ankle replacement surgery.

Ankle replacement surgery may be an option if you have not found pain relief with other treatment, such as anti-inflammatory medications or a brace. Surgery is not suitable for everyone. For example, you may not be eligible for ankle replacement surgery if you:

  • Have diabetes
  • Have a history of infection in the ankle
  • Are in poor health
  • Are young than age 50

There are some exceptions to these guidelines. It’s important to talk with a foot and ankle specialist about your overall health and lifestyle.

How is the Procedure Done?

During the operation, the surgeon removes a box-shaped area of bone from the ankle and replaces it with an artificial ankle implant. Each implant has three parts: a top piece that attached to the shinbone in the leg, a bottom piece that attaches to a large bone in the foot and a piece of plastic in the middle. These three pieces fit together to allow the ankle to rotate freely. The surgery usually takes a few hours, and you will likely be able to go home within one to two days following the procedure.

What Can I Expect After Surgery?

Recover after ankle replacement surgery generally takes about three to four months. For the first six weeks, your leg will be in a cast and you won’t be able to move your ankle. This gives the new ankle joint time to grow together with the other bones.

During the next six weeks, you will begin physical therapy and will gradually be able to start using the ankle. Once your new ankle is fully healed, you can get back to your regular schedule—with a few limitations. No high-impact activities, such as running or jumping, but low-impact activities, such as walking, swimming and biking, are all great ways to exercise with your new ankle.


* = MedStar Orthopaedics brings together the expertise of MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center, MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital, MedStar Harbor Hospital, MedStar Union Memorial Hospital, The Curtis National Hand Center and more than twenty community locations, giving you convenient access to the area's top orthopaedic, sports medicine and spine care. Click here or call 877-34-ORTHO for an appointment.

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For a referral to a foot and ankle specialist, call MedStar Orthopaedics at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital.