What is total ankle replacement, also known as total ankle arthroplasty or TAA? When is it a recommended treatment instead of ankle fusion surgery?
The ankle is a joint that receives a lot of wear and tear through the years. For this reason, your ankle is susceptible to injury if the bones in your lower leg and at the top of your feet are weakened. If this is your situation – or if your tendons in this area of the leg and foot are not strong, or if your cartilage is worn – you may be a candidate for a total ankle replacement.
Elective total ankle replacement might occur for the following reasons: if you are experiencing osteoarthritis in the ankle(s); if you have rheumatoid arthritis; if you sustain an injury and/or infection of the bone.
TAA is a surgical procedure that attempts to improve ankle motion so you experience less pain during activity. The surgery, performed by an orthopedic specialist, remove the worn or damaged ankle joint and replaces it with a prosthesis.
Your orthopedic specialist will determine if your calf muscle or Achilles tendon is tight. Treatment for this type of tightening may involve a lengthening procedure to improve motion after surgery and to take stress off of your new prosthetic joint.
Fusing your ankle is another option. If your orthopedic surgeon determines this course is the preferred option, he or she will remove the surfaces of the ankle joint and fuse two of your ankle bones – the tibia (shinbone) and talus (the bone in your ankle socket) – together. The term “fusion” refers to the two bones growing together.
Signature Medical Group’s practitioners are board-certified orthopedic surgeons whose expertise, experience, and leadership in their profession translate into exceptional medical care and treatment for you.
For more information about total ankle replacements and to schedule an appointment with one of our St. Louis or Kansas City orthopedic specialists, contact us today.