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What is ankle replacement?

Ankle replacement removes a damaged ankle joint and replaces it with an artificial joint called a prosthesis. Your surgeon may recommend this surgery if your ankle is severely damaged by arthritis, injury or infection. Ankle replacement is also called ankle arthroplasty or ankle joint replacement. It can restore pain-free range of motion and ankle function.

Your ankle contains three bones – the lower end of the shinbone (tibia), the lower end of the smaller lower leg bone (fibula), and the anklebone (talus). The talus sits on top of your heel bone (calcaneus). The ankle is a complex joint that also contains ligaments, tendons and cartilage. It hinges to allow foot movement, helps support your body weight, and supports movements in your toes and calves. Your ankle lets you walk, run, jump, and raise your toes.

Ankle replacement is major surgery that has risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having ankle replacement. 

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 24, 2016

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Medical References

  1. Ankle Arthritis and Total Ankle Replacement.
  2. Arthroplasty. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
  3. Arthroplasty. Yale School of Medicine Patient Care.
  4. Artificial Joint Replacement of the Ankle. Orthogate.
  5. End Stage Ankle Arthritis and Total Ankle Replacement.
  6. Joint Replacement Surgery. Arthroscopy Association of North America.
  7. Joint Replacement Surgery: Information for Multicultural Communities. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.]
  8. Joint Surgery. American College of Rheumatology.
  9. Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62.
  10. Preparing for Joint Replacement Surgery. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
  11. Total Ankle Replacement Surgery. Duke University Health: Orthopaedics.
  12. Skinner HB, McMahon PJ. Current Diagnosis & Treatment on Orthopedics, 5th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2014.

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