What is total ankle arthroplasty?

Total ankle arthroplasty, also known as total ankle replacement, is a surgical procedure used by a specially trained foot and ankle surgeon to treat severe ankle arthritis. The cause of ankle arthritis can vary; it can be a result of normal wear and tear due to aging or from an injury such as a broken ankle, sprained ankle or dislocated ankle. Unfortunately, arthritis in the ankle eventually leads to a lot of pain and in some cases, even deformity.

Are you a candidate for total ankle arthroplasty?

The main goal with total ankle replacement surgery is to restore ankle mobility, which will, in turn, create better function and less pain for the patient.

You might be a candidate for total ankle arthroplasty if: 

  • You have been experiencing ankle pain for sometime and have noticed decreased ankle function from arthritis and have tried anti-inflammatory medication and other over the counter remedies
  • You have been experiencing ankle pain for awhile and decreased ankle function from arthritis and have tried bracing and physical therapy as forms of treatment
  • You have been experiencing ankle pain for a while and decreased ankle function from arthritis and have tried injections as a form of treatment

You might not be a candidate for total ankle arthroplasty if:

  • You have a severe deformity with a history of abnormal nerve function; or
  • You have had a history of deep infections of the ankle; or
  • You have poor blood flow in your leg

What can you expect during the surgery?

During the surgery, you will be under general anesthesia and a nerve block. The ankle is approached from the front where an incision approximately 5-6 inches in length is placed. The arthritic ankle joint is removed. The bone around the ankle is remodeled slightly to allow for the placement of the new ankle joint components. After implantation, the new joint is placed through its range of motion to ensure optimal results. The wounds will be closed using stitches and a splint will be applied. In general, the procedure has a high rate of success, and typically takes less than 90 minutes.

Following the procedure, patients will have to wear a cast or cast boot. This enables the implants to heal in place. You will have a follow-up appointment with your doctor every 2 weeks after having the surgery. 

The Orthopedic Center of Palm Beach County has you covered for all things regarding total ankle arthroplasty.

Dr. Clancy has been performing total ankle joint replacement surgery for over 14 years. In March, Dr. Clancy performed the first outpatient total ankle replacement surgery in Palm Beach County. This was a huge milestone for both our practice and our community! 

The decision to have this type of surgery is primarily based on pain that interferes with the activities someone usually performs in the course of a day and therefore will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. If the pain can’t be controlled by bracing or over-the-counter medications, it is appropriate to book an appointment with Dr. Clancy and consider surgery. Please call us at 561-967-6500.