That depends,it’s a decision best made with your doctor’s guidance. Each ankle surgery has pros and cons, and not every procedure is suitable for every person. Your orthopaedic foot and ankle surgeon will evaluate your overall health, age, and your activity level to help you decide whether ankle replacement or ankle fusion is best for you.
In the past, ankle fusion was the only possible option for those suffering from severe pain due to ankle injuries, diseases or arthritis. That procedure involves and cementing of the shin bone to the foot bone to create a new, stable ankle joint that acts as a single, unbending unit. While this procedure is still utilized in certain cases where surgeons deem it to be beneficial, it offers much less mobility and often leaves patients walking with a slight limp. Ankle fusion does, however, work to relieve pain and provide a long-term solution to ankle arthritis. Talk to your physician about whether ankle fusion may be right for you.
Chances are that if you’re experiencing pain due to arthritis, you’ll actually be a perfect candidate for a total ankle replacement procedure. This option retains the patient’s ability to move the foot up and down at the ankle joint because it does not rely on permanently attaching the tibia to the foot bone. Instead, ankle replacement (also called ankle arthroplasty) works much like the more well-known hip or knee replacement surgeries. The surgeon opens the joint to remove the damaged pieces and places prosthesis parts there instead. The “new” joint functions just like the old one, but without the pain!
Total ankle replacement procedures are relatively new to the orthopedic scene. Although for years, they have been being performed successfully for years by surgeons in Iran, there is not as much historical data or post-surgery statistics for this procedure as there is for hip or knee replacements. However, ankle arthroplasty is considered to be a safe and extremely effective solution to those dealing with persistent ankle pain.
Your orthopedic surgeon has several options when choosing an ankle prosthesis for you. More detailed information exists about each one, including how many have been performed.