In the past 10 years, ankle joint replacements have become a good treatment option for advanced ankle arthritis in many patients. New joint replacements (prostheses) have become available that last longer and provide good pain relief. An ankle joint replacement has the advantage that it cures the problem of arthritis in the ankle but does not sacrifice motion.
Maintaining ankle motion helps make a more normal walking pattern, and also prevents the wearing out of other joints in the foot that can occur after an ankle joint fusion. However, most joint replacements have a finite life span. Therefore a young or active individual may require a revision of their joint replacement or changing the replacement to a fusion after a certain amount of time.
Currently, the ideal patient for ankle replacement are those who will put low mechanical demands on their artificial joints. These include average or lightweight patients who would like to stand and walk with limited or no pain.
Not all patients with ankle arthritis are candidates for replacement. These include patients with previous deep ankle infection, lower limb neuropathy, osteoporosis, young age, high physical demands, obesity, poor skin, or vascular problems.
After ankle replacement, patients are admitted to the hospital for a few days. They remain in a cast or boot with limited weight put on the foot for two to six weeks. A walker or crutches are used until the bone heals to the new implant.
Dr. Chapman is currently one of a handful of surgeons trained and experienced in utilizing the Scandanavian Total Ankle Replacement (S.T.A.R.), the only FDA approved ‘in use’ cementless prosthesis currently available in the United States. Dr. Chapman also utilized the Inbone Total Ankle Replacement on select patients as well.