Injured ankle

The decision to have ankle replacement surgery is primarily based on pain that interferes with activities one usually performs in the course of a day. When this pain cannot be controlled by bracing or over-the-counter medication, it is appropriate to consider surgery.

If you decide with your doctor that ankle replacement is the best option, our goal is to return you to a more normal, healthy lifestyle as soon as possible after your procedure. Our Joint Replacement Center, a recognized center of excellence, is dedicated to your care as an ankle replacement patient.

Our comprehensive care, which serves as a model for facilities around the world, includes:

  • Pre- and post-surgery education
  • Dedicated patient care unit
  • Focused care from specially-trained staff
  • Joint Care Manager who will coordinate your care
  • Group physical therapy
  • Patient education materials
  • Assistance in choosing the best rehabilitation option for you after discharge
  • Shorter length of stay – typically three days

What You Can Expect from Ankle Replacement Surgery

Before you have ankle surgery, the Joint Replacement Center will make sure you’re thoroughly prepared to achieve the best possible outcome. First, you will take part in a class in which you will tour the facility and learn what to expect of the surgery, recovery and rehabilitation process.

Surgical options to treat ankle pain include arthrodesis and ankle replacement (or total ankle arthroplasty). Arthrodesis is excellent for pain relief but sacrifices the up-and-down motion of the foot that normally occurs through the ankle. In ankle replacement surgery, the damaged parts of the ankle are removed and replaced with artificial components, called a prosthesis. You should be able to retain full range of motion with this surgery.

Preparing for Surgery

Making simple changes in your home before surgery can make your recovery period easier. For the first several weeks after your surgery, you will be using a walker or crutches to get around. You should prepare any areas that may be difficult for you to walk through. If at all possible, prepare your home to avoid having to use the stairs too frequently, especially during your first few weeks home.

The Day of Your Surgery

Total ankle replacement surgery takes approximately two and a half hours. You will wake up from surgery in a dressing that is hard in the back and soft in the front which will protect your foot and ankle and allow for swelling.

You will be admitted to the hospital the morning of surgery and stay for approximately two to three days until you have adequate control of your pain and can walk safely on crutches or a walker.

Your Recovery and Rehabilitation Process

Most ankle surgery patients are able to return home immediately after their stay at the Joint Replacement Center. You may also be referred to CHI Health Home Care or a transitional care unit.

Whatever the case, we will make sure you have access to all of the resources you need, including nursing, home health aides, and physical and occupational therapy. If you need additional assistance, a social service/case manager will help arrange for home healthcare, outpatient therapy, or placement in a skilled nursing facility or acute rehabilitation center.

After you leave the Joint Replacement Center, you will be given detailed information and instructions for exercises to do at home to aid in your rehabilitation. We will also give family members detailed instructions on how they can assist in your recovery at home. Depending on your unique needs, you may also be referred to a CHI Health Physical Therapy Clinic.

Are You a Candidate for Ankle Replacement Surgery?

Find an expert orthopedic surgeon at CHI Health to see if the procedure may be right for you.

The Joint Replacement Center also sponsors free Joint Pain Seminars designed to teach you more about the causes joint pain and the latest treatments, plus provide tips about exercise and medications.

CHI Health Orthopedics


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