Ankle Replacement Surgery

When Are Ankle Replacements Needed?

The most common reason why ankle replacement surgery is needed is due to severe arthritis. The ankle consists of the ankle joint where your shinbone rests on top of the bone of your foot. Between the bones, there is cartilage that pads the intersection and prevents the bones from rubbing. Over time, the cartilage can wear away can cause pain and inflammation in your joint. Ankle replacement surgery is done when arthritis pain is severe and other treatments such as physical therapy, foot inserts and corticosteroid injections are no longer working to relieve the pain. The aim of the surgery is increase quality of life and get you back to doing the things you love.


How Is Ankle Replacement Surgery Done?

 Typically ankle replacement surgery is done under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes an incision and removes the parts of your tibia (shin bone) and talus (foot) bones. Artificial metal joints are inserted in their places and attached to the bones with pieces of plastic inserted between them secured by a special cement. Plastic pieces are also inserted inside the metal joint so the joint glides naturally like cartilage in your original ankle joint.

After your surgery, you will wear a splint for a few weeks and will use crutches for few months. Pain medications are subscribed to manage pain for the first week, but pain should diminish after the first few days. Typically patients need physical therapy for a few months to help strengthen and ankle and maintain range of motion. During the recovery time, you will be monitored by our physician to ensure a speedy and healthy recovery.


Are There Risks to Be Aware Of?

Ankle replacement surgeries have very high success rates and have had many advancements in recent years with hardware and also with the instrumentation and techniques used to perform the surgery making them less invasive. It is always recommended for the patient to be informed of any risks associated with surgery. 

There are some risks associated with ankle replacements. These include:


Hardware wearing out over time 


Complications due to age and existing medical conditions


Additional risk to people with poorly controlled diabetes






Nerve damage

Dr. Andrew Lonabaugh

Treasure Coast Podiatry Centre is proud to offer ankle replacement surgeries under the care of Dr. Andrew Lonabaugh.  Dr. Lonabaugh has been on the forefront of innovative surgical approaches ranging from minimally invasive techniques to complex total ankle replacement.  He has received extensive training in ankle replacements from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, and the University of Louisville and associated KentuckyOne Health Facilities.  You can read more about Dr. Lonabaugh’s extensive resumé here.

Stuart Office


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Big Lake Foot and Ankle Specialist