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What to Ask About Knee Osteoarthritis

What is ankle replacement?

Ankle replacement removes a damaged ankle joint and replaces it with an artificial joint called a prosthesis. Your surgeon may recommend this surgery if your ankle is severely damaged by arthritis, injury or infection. Ankle replacement is also called ankle arthroplasty or ankle joint replacement. It can restore pain-free range of motion and ankle function.

Your ankle contains three bones – the lower end of the shinbone (tibia), the lower end of the smaller lower leg bone (fibula), and the anklebone (talus). The talus sits on top of your heel bone (calcaneus). The ankle is a complex joint that also contains ligaments, tendons and cartilage. It hinges to allow foot movement, helps support your body weight, and supports movements in your toes and calves. Your ankle lets you walk, run, jump, and raise your toes.

Ankle replacement is major surgery that has risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having ankle replacement. 

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Nov 5, 2013

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Medical References

Ankle Arthritis and Total Ankle Replacement. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/joint_replacement/hic-ankle-arthritis-and-total-ankle-replacement.aspx. Accessed June 29, 2013.
Arthroplasty. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/glossary.cfm. Accessed June 29, 2013.
Arthroplasty. Yale School of Medicine Patient Care. http://www.yalemedicalgroup.org/stw/Page.asp?PageID=STW028955. Accessed June 29, 2013.
Artificial Joint Replacement of the Ankle. Orthogate. http://www.orthogate.org/patient-education/ankle/artificial-joint-replacement-of-the-ankle.html. Accessed June 29, 2013.
End Stage Ankle Arthritis and Total Ankle Replacement. http://www.hss.edu/conditions_ankle-arthritis-total-ankle-replacement.asp. Accessed June 29, 2013.
Joint Replacement Surgery. Arthroscopy Association of North America. http://www.aana.org/EducationLibrary/Articles/JointReplacementSurgery/tabid/128/Default.aspx. Accessed June 29, 2013.
Joint Replacement Surgery: Information for Multicultural Communities. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Joint_Replacement/default.asp#7. Accessed June 29, 2013.
Joint Surgery. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/jointsurgery.pdf. Accessed June 29, 2013.
Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf. Accessed June 29, 2013.
Preparing for Joint Replacement Surgery. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00220. Accessed March 2, 2013.
Total Ankle Replacement Surgery. Duke University Health: Orthopaedics. http://www.dukehealth.org/orthopaedics/services/foot-and-ankle/treatments/foot-and-ankle-surgery/total-ankle-replacement-surgery. Accessed April 18, 2013.
Skinner HB, McMahon PJ. Current Diagnosis & Treatment on Orthopedics, 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2014.

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