Maybe you sprained your ankle as a youngster. Ever since then, it hasn’t been the same. It used to hurt when you’d run a short distance. Now the pain is constant.
Often, some type of arthritis (such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis) is the cause of ankle pain. Many ankle problems can be solved with pain medication, cortisone injections or ankle braces. But if you’ve tried all those options and can’t shake the pain, it may be time to consider total ankle replacement surgery.
You will need help to decide if surgery is right for you. The board-certified orthopaedic surgeons and care team at Grand View Health can provide that guidance. Our team’s focus will always be personal. We’ll talk with you person-to-person, discuss your condition and your options, help you make an informed decision, and stay by your side at every step of your journey. Our surgeons are skilled in using the STAR™ Ankle System, named for the well-known Scandinavian surgeon who designed the device.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about ankle surgery to help guide you:
You may be a candidate if you suffer from arthritic ankle pain that limits your activities of daily living. Surgery will be recommended only after careful examination and diagnosis of your ankle problem, and only after you’ve tried non-surgical options such as exercise, physical therapy and medication.
No one design fits every patient. A surgeon will choose the implant that’s best for you based on your age, activity level, the implant’s track record, and the surgeon’s comfort with that implant.
We use a three-part prosthetic device called the STAR Ankle System. While other implants use a fixed bearing, the STAR Ankle System uses a mobile bearing that mimics the movement of the ankle. The STAR Ankle System also doesn’t require the use of bone cement during implantation. The materials used in the STAR Ankle System have been used in artificial hips and knees for many years, and have shown to be extremely well accepted by the body. The clinical investigation of the STAR Ankle System was limited to patients weighing no more than 250 pounds.
The Joint Center at Grand View Health is dedicated to joint replacement patients. Our local, experienced, board-certified surgeons from Upper Bucks Orthopaedics at Grand View Health will work with specially trained nurses, physical therapists and technicians who will help you get back to your favorite activities as quickly as possible.
Most patients will stay in the hospital for one to two days.
Most people will be in a cast for two weeks after surgery and will not be able to bear weight on the ankle. You will need to keep your ankle elevated as much as possible and limit your activities. After two weeks, your cast will be replaced by a removable cast brace, but you still will not be able to bear weight on your ankle. After about seven weeks, you will be allowed to begin gradually increasing your weight-bearing activities while continuing to wear the cast brace. However, every patient’s recovery is different.
Like other joint implants, the STAR Ankle System will wear with time and may need a replacement part or complete replacement, or your ankle joint may need to be fused. If you are overweight, a smoker or take part in activities that put stress on your ankle, the lifespan of the STAR Ankle System may be shorter.
It’s normal to experience a moderate amount of pain for two weeks after surgery, and you may need to use pain medication. The pain will slowly decrease over time, but you may experience some discomfort for up to three months. Swelling is not uncommon and may continue for up to a year after surgery.