Ankle Arthritis Surgery
Proper treatment of foot and ankle arthritis addresses both pain and joint deformity. Pain develops when the joint is injured. Injury to the joint may result from swelling caused by inflammatory arthritis or from the loss of joint surface (cartilage), often caused by trauma. If left untreated, the foot and ankle may eventually become deformed and severely restrict mobility.
In the case of chronic or severe arthritis in the ankle the most effective surgery is Total Ankle Replacement as described below…
Total Ankle Replacement
Our surgeons prefer to use a prosthesis known as the “INFINITY” Ankle Replacement system. The INFINITY Ankle is a new low-profile implant, which is very accurately placed and aligned using an electronic guidance and positioning system
Total ankle replacement surgery is performed as an in-patient at one of the hospitals used by our surgeons. Depending on your age, general health, whether you live locally or at a distance, as well as several other factors, determine how long you stay in the hospital. Typically, a one night stay is common.
The procedure is performed an operating theatre and will be done under general anesthetic. A nerve block is used for postoperative pain control as well. The procedure lasts usually less than 2 hours.
Your ankle is normally in a cast or velcro boot for about six weeks. You will not be able to bear weight during the first three weeks and will need to use crutches. The cast will help the wound healing and to protect your new ankle. At your first review appointment, 7 days after surgery, wounds are checked, and new cast is placed. At 3 weeks post op, sutures are removed and a velcro boot is fitted. You are allowed to perform gentle range of motion of the ankle at this point.
At six weeks following surgery you are allowed to start weight bearing in the boot. At this time, physiotherapy will begin and after10 weeks, you will use and ankle support boot and continue with physio.
The Nanofracture procedure is the most advanced for of a surgery commonly known as a “microfracture” procedure offering a smaller, deeper, more effective solution.
Articular cartilage covers the ends of bones in joints throughout the foot and ankle complex. Normal cartilage is smooth allowing easy gliding of the joint. When the cartilage is injured, the smooth surface can become rough. On occasion, the cartilage injury exposes the underlying bone. Microfracture is a technique that can be used to treat an articular cartilage injury or defect that exposes bone.
This procedure can be performed on most major joints. It is an arthroscopic (keyhole) procedure using a small sharp pick to create a network of holes in the bone at the base of the articular cartilage injury. These holes allow blood into the injured area to form a clot. Over time, this clot turns into organised tissue called fibrocartilage which fills in the injured area. This tissue functions similar to native cartilage to restore joint function and minimize symptoms such as pain and swelling.