Before technology caught up, bone fusions were the standard treatment for advanced ankle arthritis. Now you have the option of getting a total ankle replacement, which eases your pain and preserves joint movement. As one of the region’s top foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Martina Randall, DPM, in the North Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, specializes in replacing arthritic ankles with prosthetic joints. If you’re in the Greater Los Angeles area and need relief from ankle arthritis, call the office or request an appointment online today.
A total ankle replacement refers to surgery to remove damaged bone and cartilage in your ankle joint and replace those tissues with prosthetic components. The prosthetic joint uses biocompatible metal pieces to replace the bottom portion of the tibia (shinbone) and the talus, which is the bone connecting the ankle to your foot.
Though it’s not common, you might need an ankle replacement if you suffer a complex fracture that doesn’t heal. In most cases, Dr. Randall performs a total ankle replacement when you have advanced arthritis with extensive joint damage.
You may need an ankle replacement for joint damage and pain caused by:
Osteoarthritis develops as the cartilage covering the bones begins to break down. As more cartilage deteriorates, the bones grate against each other, causing pain, limited ankle movement, and joint inflammation.
Osteoarthritis normally develops slowly over decades of cartilage degeneration. By comparison, post-traumatic osteoarthritis appears rapidly after an injury damages the joint.
Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system attacks the synovial tissues lining the inside of the ankle joint. The tissues become inflamed, which causes pain and joint stiffness and destroys the bone.
Before your surgery, Dr. Randall explains your anesthesia options so you can decide which one works best for you. During your surgery, she removes the damaged portion of the shinbone and talus.
The shinbone prosthesis has a stem that Dr. Randall inserts into the center of the bone. Then she attaches a metal plate to the stem. For the next step, she partially or completely replaces the talus with a prosthetic piece that recreates the bone’s shape.
Finally, Dr. Randall inserts a plastic piece between the metal prosthetic parts. This piece replaces the cartilage for smooth movement. She closes the wound with stitches or staples and applies a splint to stabilize the joint.
After your surgery, you can’t bear any weight on the foot, and you need to keep it elevated to reduce swelling and promote healing. How soon you can start physical therapy or put weight on the ankle depends on how quickly you heal.
If you struggle with the daily pain of ankle arthritis, call Dr. Martina Randall or book an appointment online to learn more about total ankle replacements.