A Foot to Stand On

Pros and Cons of Having Ankle Replacement Surgery

If you have an ankle that causes you significant pain, perhaps due to severe arthritis or an old injury, your doctor might be suggesting you have a total ankle replacement performed. This procedure can be really helpful for a lot of people, but it does also have some drawbacks. Ultimately, it will be up to you to consider these pros and cons to decide whether a total ankle replacement is right for you.

Pro: Your mobility can be restored.

There are a lot of therapies you can use for an arthritic or injured ankle, but none of them will completely restore your range of motion like a total ankle replacement. When you have your ankle replaced, any negative progress you are making will stop. While it will take you some time to heal, once you are healed, you will be able to move your new ankle in a way you have not been able to move in a long time. You won't have to undergo continuing treatments like cortisone injections, either.

Also, you won't have to deal with worsening arthritis or increasing tightness as you continue to age. As loose and comfortable as your new ankle is a year after surgery, it will continue to be for the rest of your life. It's nice to know your days of worsening ankle issues will come to an end.

Con: The surgery and recovery period is extensive.

This is not a simple surgery. It has to be performed through a large incision, and the healing time is a few months. As such, there are risks, such as the risk of infection and the risk of slow healing. Your doctor and surgeon will do all they can to minimize these risks, but they cannot eliminate the risks completely. Continuing whatever therapy and treatment you are using now is definitely the safer approach

You will also need to plan for plenty of downtime when you have ankle replacement surgery. You will probably need to mostly stay off your feet for about a month. Then, you will walk with a walker or crutches. You'll have to do a lot of physical therapy to restore your mobility. This can be worth it, but if you cannot take time off from work or other obligations, ankle replacement may not be feasible at this time.

To learn more about these pros and cons, talk with your surgeon. They can give you more personalized insight on total ankle replacement.