Joining the more familiar knee and hip replacement procedures for debilitating arthritis in these joints, ankle replacement is another procedure that may be considered for people suffering from severe ankle pain. Jonathan Deland, MD, co-chief of the Foot and Ankle Service at Hospital for Special Surgery, NY, describes recent improvements in implant design that have made ankle replacement an increasingly viable alternative to the standard ankle fusion treatment for relief of pain and restoration of joint function.
The newest implant used in ankle replacement, on which Dr. Deland collaborated in design, received FDA approval in 2012 and is considered by many to be an advance over previous models. Appropriate candidates for ankle replacement are patients aged 50 and older with severe pain for whom conservative treatments such as rest, pain medication, and bracing fail to provide relief. Additionally they must have good bone quality and foot alignment, and present with no underlying health problems that would impede healing. Read a news story about the surgical procedure here.