Ankle replacement could relieve your chronic pain and joint instability when other treatments are proving ineffective. Orthopedic Specialists of Oakland County, with offices in Bloomfield Hills and Clarkston, Michigan, has orthopedic surgeons who specialize in performing ankle replacement procedures using minimally invasive techniques. To find out whether ankle replacement is right for you, call the Orthopedic Specialists of Oakland County office nearest you or book an appointment online today.
Ankle replacement (also called ankle arthroplasty) is a form of surgery that Orthopedic Specialists of Oakland County uses to treat severe ankle arthritis. Ankle replacement improves the movement of your ankle joint, so you feel less pain when physically active.
The ankle or tibiotalar joint is where the bottom of your shinbone (tibia) meets the talus bone in your foot. To perform an ankle replacement, your surgeon extracts the damaged portions of bone and fits artificial components.
One reason for needing ankle replacement surgery is trauma to the joint that isn’t repairable by any other means, for example, shattering the ankle in an auto accident. However, the most common problem that leads to ankle replacement is osteoarthritis in the joint.
Osteoarthritis develops over time as your joints sustain wear-and-tear. Years of use lead to the erosion of protective articular cartilage on the bones that results in friction and inflammation. Injuries to the ankle can accelerate these changes.
As the cartilage wears away and the bones get more damaged, pain, weakness, and stiffness in the joints increases. While medications, physical therapy, and joint injections offer relief for mild to moderate arthritis, the joint damage may eventually become too severe. At this point, the two main options are ankle fusion and ankle replacement.
Ankle fusion involves inserting a bone graft into the ankle joint to encourage the bones to join together. The fused joint is stable and relieves pain, but you do lose flexibility, so if this is important to you, ankle replacement could be your best option. Ankle replacement surgery is also suitable for patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
The Orthopedic Specialists of Oakland County surgeons perform ankle replacement under a general anesthetic, which puts you to sleep, or a nerve block that numbs the lower limbs. Your surgeon approaches the ankle from the side or the front, depending on which implant they’re using, then cuts away the damaged sections of bone.
They prepare the ends of the bones for the new components, which are metal and plastic. If your calf muscle or Achilles tendon is tight, your surgeon might need to lengthen it to improve your ankle’s range of motion. Next, they stitch or staple the wound and fit a splint. You need to wear a cast or cast boot to allow the implants to heal.
To find out if you could benefit from ankle replacement, call Orthopedic Specialists of Oakland County or book an appointment online today.