We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Ankle Arthroplasty?

By Amanda Barnhart
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An ankle arthroplasty is a surgical procedure to replace a diseased or damaged ankle joint with a replacement joint. This procedure is usually performed on people who have severe pain or restricted movement from arthritis, or for those with severe bone fractures. The ankle replacement is made of metal and plastic and attaches to the foot and the lower leg. Artificial joints often greatly reduce pain associated with arthritis or bone spurs, and makes walking and other movements easier.

Patients with arthritis in their ankles or who suffer from other ankle-related problems typically undergo physical therapy to help them regain function. They may also take medications to help them control pain and inflammation as a first line of treatment. Ankle arthroplasty is reserved as a last resort for patients who have restricted movement or severe pain, since there are risks associated with the surgery.

Ankle arthroplasty is typically done under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes an incision in the front of the ankle and cuts into the joint capsule to access the ankle joint. He then shapes the bones around where the replacement will fit, puts it in place, and tests it to make sure it moves properly. The ankle replacement is held in place with screws in the lower leg. A bone graft is placed around the replacement joint to prevent it from loosening.

The surgical site is then stitched closed and the ankle is fitted with a splint to protect it during the healing process. Patients who undergo an ankle arthroplasty typically wear the splint for several days. For the first day or two following surgery, patients may have a drainage tube placed in the ankle to remove excess blood from pooling around the joint, which leads to swelling. Keeping the ankle elevated above the heart during the first week or two after surgery also helps minimize swelling, and patients often take prescription painkillers to minimize discomfort.

Rehabilitation usually begins 10 to 14 days after surgery, after the stitches are removed. Ankle arthroplasty patients use crutches or a walker to help move around for 10 to 12 weeks, and also go to physical therapy to help strengthen the new joint and improve flexibility and range of motion. Follow-up visits with the doctor or surgeon include x-rays to make sure the joint is healing properly.

As with any surgery, patients who have an ankle arthroplasty may have an adverse reaction to the anesthesia or develop an infection at the surgical site. Proper wound care is extremely important during the first weeks after surgery to minimize the risk of infection. Nerves and blood vessels around the ankle joint may be damaged during surgery, though this is rare. Another potential complication is loosening of the replacement joint, which can occur if the metal separates from the bone graft.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.