Total Ankle Replacement

Total ankle replacement may be an option for patients in the end stages of ankle arthritis. Though less common than total hip or total knee replacement, total ankle replacement can be very effective at alleviating arthritis symptoms.

Dr. Karim Mahmoud is our foot and ankle specialist at Augusta-Aiken Orthopedic Specialists. He has a special interest in ankle replacements and received extensive fellowship training in all aspects of total ankle replacement, including complex procedures and revisions.

Candidates for Total Ankle Replacement

In the right patients, total ankle replacement may be a great alternative to ankle fusion, the procedure that has traditionally been used to treat end-stage ankle arthritis. Unlike ankle fusion, total ankle replacement preserves motion in the ankle, protecting the other joints in the foot and leg. Candidates for total ankle replacement are typically in the end stages of ankle arthritis, but there are other factors that our surgeons consider before recommending this procedure.

Patients with severe ankle arthritis tend to be younger than patients with hip or knee arthritis. This is due to the fact that ankle arthritis tends to be post-traumatic, meaning arthritis develops after an ankle injury. However, total ankle replacement is generally not recommended for patients under the age of 50 because the implant may wear out more quickly, requiring additional procedures. For these patients, ankle fusion may be recommended instead of total ankle replacement.

Total ankle replacement also may not be recommended for heavy smokers or diabetic patients with neuropathy, as these patients have an increased risk of infection.

Total Ankle Replacement Procedure

Like other total joint replacement procedures, total ankle replacement involves removing the damaged portions of the joint and replacing them with prosthetic components to improve joint function.

There are several different total ankle implants available on the market. They select the implant based on the patient’s needs. 

Recovering from Total Ankle Replacement

Patients will need to stay in the hospital overnight after undergoing total ankle replacement. Most patients are able to go home the following day. The nerve block administered during surgery helps with pain in the first 12-24 hours, and pain medication may be recommended for a few days after if pain persists.

The ankle is placed in a soft cast for the first two weeks after surgery. Patients are advised not to put weight on the ankle for the first 2-4 weeks while the incision heals. Because the incision is made at the front of the ankle, weightbearing can put significant stress on the incision and adversely affect healing. Once the incision has healed, the patient will then graduate to a boot for about 6-8 weeks and can begin weightbearing and moving the ankle at this point. Not all patients will need formal physical therapy, but physical therapy for gait training and strengthening may begin 6 weeks after surgery, if needed.

Surgeons typically schedule check-ups at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, and 12 weeks out from the procedure to check progress. After recovery, annual checkups are recommended to make sure the ankle replacement is still functioning well.

Total Ankle Replacement in Augusta, GA

Dr. Karim Mahmoud is our expert in total ankle replacement at Augusta-Aiken Orthopedic Specialists. If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mahmoud, please call our Augusta office at 706-863-9797, or use our convenient online form to submit an appointment request.

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