Runner with injured ankle

If you have advanced arthritis in your ankle, a total ankle replacement surgery can provide you with pain relief and continued motion of the ankle joint. In the past, ankle fusions have been the gold standard in the treatment of ankle arthritis, but fusions result in limited motion of the ankle joint. Now for select patients, ankle replacement is equally effective with the added benefit of preserving ankle motion. Keeping motion in the ankle helps maintain the surrounding joints in the long term.

Who needs total ankle replacement?

Total ankle replacement is a surgical method for treating arthritis in your ankle. In the ankle, the joint consists of two bones, the lower leg bone and the first foot bone. These bones are covered with cartilage, which protects the bones and helps them to move smoothly. If you suffer from arthritis, the cartilage in your ankle joint thins and becomes irregular.

If your arthritis has become advanced and has reached the point of causing pain in your ankle that gets in the way of your everyday activities and if your pain cannot be controlled by non-surgical treatment options, then your doctor may recommend total ankle replacement.

You may be a good candidate for total ankle replacement if you:

  • Have overall good health
  • Are older than 50 years of age
  • Do not perform high-impact sports or activities
  • Are at a healthy weight
  • Do not have a severely malaligned ankle

How does ankle replacement work?

In ankle replacement surgery, the doctor works to relieve ankle pain while also maintaining motion in the joint. During surgery, the doctor replaces your ankle joint with an artificial joint. After removing the old cartilage, the doctor replaces it with a metal and plastic joint. The joint is fitted to act like your natural joint so you can restore pain-free or reduced-pain movement in your ankle.

History of total ankle replacement surgery

At CORE Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, we have a special interest in ankle replacement. Our founding father, Dr. Frank Alvine, played a key role in the advancement of research in total ankle replacement.

Dr. Alvine designed the first FDA approved total ankle replacement system. While ankle replacement surgeries have existed for many years, they are not as commonly performed as hip and knee replacements because fewer patients suffer from arthritis of the ankle. Thanks to the research done by Dr. Frank Alvine and others, patient outcomes and success rates have greatly improved over the years. Ankle replacements are now routinely performed to treat ankle arthritis.

If you are experiencing pain from arthritis in your ankle, we encourage you to explore your options to help you get back to pain-free living. Dr. Alvine and Dr. David Watts are the foot and ankle experts for CORE Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. They are committed to helping you determine the treatment plan that will ease your ankle pain and help you get back to your best.

Give us a call today at 605-336-2638.

1 reply
  1. Candice Eisenhower
    Candice Eisenhower says:

    It’s interesting to learn that ankle replacement surgeries are performed to those with acute arthritic conditions who regularly experience pain in their ankles hence getting in the way of their everyday work. Good thing I came across this post because my aunt has been having problems with her right ankle due to arthritis that she would lie in the bed all day because she can barely walk. I’ll have a word with mom so we can accompany her to an expert who can check her right ankle for possible surgery.


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