Ankles are hard at work supporting your weight and making it possible for your to use your feet. Standing, walking, running, jumping, and even sitting up in a chair all rely on your ankles to support your legs and body. For patients with ankle arthritis, pain is just a part of daily life. But when persistent ankle arthritis from a chronic ankle injury or ankle fracture makes walking, exercising, or climbing stairs unbearable, it’s time to consider your treatment options. Ankle replacement is often the treatment of choice for people who want to continue their active lifestyles, and the orthopedic specialists at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will work with you to get the help you need to alleviate your pain and preserve motion at the joint so you can get going with your life.
Ankle replacement surgery is the replacement of a damaged ankle joint with an artificial implant. Patients who undergo ankle replacement are typically in their 40s through 60s, although older individuals who are “physiologically young” may also be good candidates. The best candidate is a healthy person with ankle arthritis who has minimal or no deformity of the ankle. In general, an ankle replacement will function best in patients who have somewhat less-active lifestyles. High-impact activities such as running and jumping can damage an ankle replacement. It is also best for people who are not overweight. Recently published literature shows long-term survivorship for a replacement to be as high as 93%, which is significantly higher than previous generations making it a much more viable option to treat painful ankle pain.
THE ANKLE JOINT AND ARTHRITIS
The ankle joint (tibiotalar joint) is where the shinbone (tibia) rests on top of a bone of the foot (talus). There is cartilage throughout the ankle that cushions the joint. In severe ankle arthritis, the cartilage is worn down to the point that there is bone-on-bone grinding or contact with the joint.