Ankle replacement (total ankle arthroplasty) is major surgery to reduce ankle pain. A surgeon removes the lower part of the shin bone (tibia) and top of the highest bone on the foot (talus) The ankle is replaced with plastic or metal pieces.
You may have a cast, boot, or splint on your leg for about a month after surgery. You won't be able to put weight on the leg at first. It will be helpful if there is someone to help you at home for the next few weeks or until you have more energy and can move around better.
You will go home with a bandage and stitches or staples. You can remove the bandage when your doctor tells you to. If the stitches aren't the type that dissolve, your doctor will remove them in 10 to 14 days.
You may still have some mild pain, and the area may be swollen for several months after surgery. Your doctor may prescribe pain medicine for a few weeks. Or he or she may suggest over-the-counter medicine.
For several weeks you will continue the rehabilitation program (rehab) you may have started in the hospital. The better you do with your rehab exercises, the sooner you will get your strength and movement back. Depending on your job, you may be able to return to work in a few weeks. Some people need more time to recover. You may need to avoid certain leg movements or putting too much weight on your ankle.
In the future, make sure to let all health professionals know about your artificial ankle. You may need to take antibiotics before you have dental work or a medical procedure. This helps reduce the chance that your new ankle will get infected.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: September 20, 2018
Steven J. Atlas, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine & Thomas M. Bailey, MD, CCFP - Family Medicine
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