Total ankle replacement
When conservative treatments for ankle pain have failed and the pain no longer can be managed effectively, a surgical solution might be the next best course of action.
Those were among the thoughts shared by Jason George DeVries, a foot-and-ankle surgeon with Orthopedics & Sports Medicine BayCare Clinic in Manitowoc, during a recent Facebook LIVE Q&A discussion on total ankle replacement surgeries.
Total ankle replacement occurs when the surgeon removes damaged bone and cartilage from the ankle joint and inserts an artificial one. The new joint is made of metal components that replace damaged bone, cushioned by a high-grade plastic that simulates natural cartilage to provide stability.
“It is just like the name says,” DeVries says. “You take out all of the mechanisms, all the joint surfaces and do a complete changeup. … We are literally going to go in and take the bad ankle, remove it, and then install a new one in there.”
Non-surgical treatments such as the use of anti-inflammatories, use of a support brace, physical therapy, regenerative medicine, modifying physical activities and applying ice to the ankle can offer some relief from ankle pain, DeVries says. However, when these remedies no longer are effective, surgery may be the next, best option.
“For chronic ankle pain, it is really the option of last resort,” DeVries says.
After successful total ankle replacement surgery, patients typically regain their range of motion. That means they can enjoy many low-impact physical activities, such as hiking, biking, golf, pickleball and skiing. However, running and jumping is generally not recommended.
“I do want people to be active, but low-impact and no-impact,” DeVries says.
A referral is not needed to see DeVries.