Total Ankle Replacement Specialist

Richmond Orthopedic Institute

Surgeons located in Richmond, VA

As recently as several decades ago, there wasn’t a great answer for severe ankle arthritis — but thanks to advances in equipment, tools, and techniques over the last decade, total ankle replacement is growing more common. At Richmond Orthopedic Institute in Richmond, Virginia, skilled foot and ankle surgeon Dr. Anson Chu, offers total ankle replacement surgery to help patients overcome the pain and movement limitations of arthritis permanently. Book an appointment online or call the office to arrange your consultation today.

Total Ankle Replacement Q&A

What is total ankle replacement? 

Total ankle replacement surgery involves the replacement of a severely damaged ankle joint using artificial components (the implants). The most common ankle surgery was once ankle fusion, in which surgeons permanently fixed the ankle joint in place, but ankle fusion significantly limits your mobility.  

Total ankle replacement preserves your mobility because it replaces the worn-out or badly damaged parts of your ankle with plastic and metal prosthetics that move just like a healthy joint. 

When might I need total ankle replacement surgery? 

Total ankle replacement surgery is best for people with late-stage ankle arthritis. In the later stages, osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis can cause ankle swelling, stiffness, pain, and difficulty walking.  

If you have ankle arthritis and more conservative measures aren’t helping anymore, Dr. Chu might recommend total ankle replacement. Usually, Dr. Chu only recommends total ankle replacement surgery if arthritis significantly reduces your quality of life.  

Total ankle replacement may not be the ideal procedure for people with circulatory issues, diabetes, bone infections, or significant extra body weight. In those cases, another procedure like ankle fusion might be better.  

Although the vast majority of total ankle replacements occur in people with arthritis, some other severe types of ankle damage could qualify for this procedure. 

How does total ankle replacement work? 

You’ll typically receive general anesthesia for total ankle replacement. In this surgery, Dr. Chu removes the damaged bone at the end of your shin bone (tibia) and top of your foot (the talus). He resurfaces the ends of these bones to fit your new joint surfaces (the implants). A spacer is then placed between to the two implants which helps your ankle joint glide smoothly.  

Some total ankle replacements require one night in the hospital, while others may be same-day procedures. 

What happens after total ankle replacement? 

After total ankle replacement, you’ll wear a boot, or cast and use crutches or a walker for at least a few weeks. Physical therapy over the next several months helps you to rebuild strength and flexibility in your ankle.  

Total ankle replacement can change your life and give your mobility back if you have severe ankle arthritis. To learn more, call Richmond Orthopedic Institute or book your consultation online today.