Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
195 Little Albany Street
New Brunswick, NJ 08903-2681
If a person has severe arthritis of the ankel, a doctor may recommend a surgical procedure called ankle arthroplasty, or total ankle replacement.
The ankle is the joint that connects the leg and the foot.
The ankle joint includes the two lower leg bones, called the tibia and the fibula, and the anklebone, called the talus.
The joint allows the foot to move up and down.
On the ends of the bones is a smooth, gliding covering called articular cartilage
Sometimes, the ankle can become damaged by injuy, normal wear and tear or diseases.
This can result in arthritis which is painful joint inflammation and stiffness.
Over time, the articular cartilage can wear away causing the exposed boney surfaces to rub together.
In addition, arthritis can lead to changes in the shape of the bones in the ankle joints.
For example, boney projections called bone spurs can develop.
The bone spurs along with the damaged cartilage can make it hard to move the foot up and down.
As a result, it can be difficult to walk and go up and down stairs.
Two types of arthritis that can affect the ankle joint are
Osteoarthritis due to wear and tear on the joint or injury.
Or Rheumatoid arthritis; one of several auto-immune disorders that causes inflammation in the joint.
A surgical procedure called total ankle replacement is done to replace a severely damaged ankle joint.
The surgeon will make an incision on the front of the damaged ankle to reveal the ankle joint.
Next, the ends of the tibia and talus will be removed.
A man made joint called an implant or prosthesis , will be inserted into the ankle.
At the end of the procedure the incision will be closed with stitches.
After the ankle replacement the patient will be able to move the ankle more fully and experience less pain during activity.