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When you suffer from pain in your ankle caused by severe arthritis and the more-conservative treatments cannot relieve your symptoms, ankle surgery may be the best option for you. There are several types of ankle surgery, which are determined by your level of activity, age, and the severity of your joint deformity or damage.
There are two main types of ankle surgery: ankle fusion (arthrodesis) and ankle replacement, both can be performed under regional or general anesthetic. With ankle fusion, your surgeon fuses the bones of your ankle into one combined bone using metal plates and screws. With ankle replacement, your surgeon removes the ends of the damaged bones and replace them with a plastic-and-metal joint.
You may need to stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days, depending on your condition. However, you need to stay n Thailand for about 7 to 14 days for initial recovery and follow up appointments with your surgeon. The removal of stitches usually will take place within 14 days, but you can have it done by your local doctor if you do not want to stay in Thailand for too long.
You will need to take things easy and take time off from work for around four to six weeks. If your job is physically demanding, you will need more time. It may take a full year until you can get back to most of your activities, including swimming, hiking, and cycling, but remember to avoid high-impact activities to prevent damage to your new ankle.
It is very important to start moving as soon as you can and to undergo physical therapy. Your physical therapist will show you exercises to increase your range of motion and strengthen your ankle. You will need to use crutches for 6 weeks because you should not put weight onto your ankle.
Ankle surgery is highly successful and effective to treat problems with your ankle; it is reported that the surgery has approximately 90% to 95% success rate. Although the success rate is high, there are some side effects and risks that come with this procedure, including increased pain, swelling, stiffness, infections, and wound hematoma (bleeding).
If you are not an ideal candidate for surgery, your surgeon may recommend you to undergo nonsurgical treatments instead. You may be advised to wear inserts that support your ankle (orthotics), use canes or braces to support the joints, undergo Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and physical therapy, or get steroid injection into the joints.
Before an ankle surgery, you feel uncomfortable and have painful symptoms. After ankle surgery, your pain will be relieved, the function of your ankle is much improved, your mobility is increased, and you can enjoy walking and swimming again.
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