Thursday, November 9, 2017

Freedom starts with ankle replacement surgery

Until recently, ankle replacements were not that common. However, active people want to stay active, and with advancements in technology, total ankle replacement, also called total ankle arthroplasty (TAA), has become more common.

total ankle replacement woman holding ankle

What causes ankle pain?

The first question patients tend to ask is why they have pain. There could be many reasons. You feel pain when there is friction between your ankle bones when moving. If you have arthritis, it can rob your body of cartilage, and it’s the cartilage that helps make movement smooth and pain-free. Through injury, infection, an active lifestyle, or the wear and tear of a life well-lived, your body’s cartilage grows thinner and provides less protection.

When should you consider ankle replacement surgery?

Ankle replacement surgery is an excellent, highly sophisticated treatment option for patients with arthritis of the ankle. Total ankle arthroplasty relieves pain and restores motion to your ankle joint. It is a powerful, positive alternative to ankle fusion surgery, which relieves pain but eliminates range of motion.

The decision to have surgery hinges on your desire to continue to do activities that cause you pain. Usually, the decision comes after you’ve tried to counter ankle pain with a brace and over-the-counter medication.

What should you expect?

For something this big, have a discussion with a doctor that understands the procedure. Behaviors that increase the risk of infections, like smoking, need to be discontinued.

The procedure

You are admitted to the hospital the morning of the surgery and stay two to three days. During the surgery, the foot bone is replaced with a smooth metal and plastic joint. The surgery takes about three hours. When you wake up, the ankle will be immobilized and sore. Regardless, expect to get up and start moving.

The recovery

Expect to use crutches until the doctor determines that you can apply weight to the newly constructed joint. Once you can put weight on your ankle, you’ll undergo several hours of intense physical therapy to strengthen your new ankle and improve its range of motion. As with any surgery, there are risks. After your TAA procedure, our team of professionals monitor you for risks of infection, damage to nerves, bone fractures, wounds, and blood clots during the recovery process.

Relieve your ankle pain

Meet Logansport Memorial Hospital’s new podiatrist, Dr. Alex Lebrija. He is available to answer any questions you might have about ankle pain. “You won’t rush in and out of an appointment with me,” says Dr. Lebrija. “Let me take the time to listen and understand more about your foot or ankle problem.” Learn more about our services to heal and care for your feet and make an appointment.

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Make an appointment with Dr. Lebrija or any of our orthopedic surgeons to discuss your total ankle replacement or other foot and ankle problems. 

Call 574.722.2663

See Dr. Lebrija's bio

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