Ankle Replacement Surgery
About Ankle Replacement
Ankle replacement surgery is an option for end stage ankle arthritis. This may have been discussed with you or planned for your ankle arthritis problem.
Ankle replacement technology has been improving over recent years. The original ankle replacements performed over 30 years ago were not very successful. Newer technology and experience in ankle replacements has meant over the last 10 years newer designs have had improved results.
Ankle replacements are still uncommon and ankle arthritis is 20 times less common than hip or knee arthritis. Therefore not many people have heard of ankle replacements and usually you will not have heard of 'someone who has had one done' – compared to hips and knees. The current replacements are having good results although still not quite as good as hip and knee replacements.
Overall approximately 80% (8 out of 10) ankles will last for more than 10 years without any major problems. As with any artificial joint they can wear out, become loose or infected. Care must be taken not to over stress the joint as this may lead to premature wear. However, regular day-to-day activities such as walking, golf, swimming, snow skiing and bike riding should be possible. Running is usually not possible and not encouraged (Except to get out of the way of an oncoming car)!
A small percentage of ankles will have minor troubles such as scar tissue impingement or early wear of the plastic liner that may need minor adjustment surgery within the first few years.
Of the 10-20% that may wear out over 5-10 years then the main option is to remove the ankle and then fuse the ankle joint. Occasionally a 'redo' or revision of the ankle prosthesis may be possible.