The tibia (shinbone), talus (lower part of the ankle joint) and fibula (smaller bone in the lower leg) are the bones that construct the ankle joint. Your ligaments border these bones on either side, holding them together to provide stability. Meanwhile the tendons connect the muscles to the bone and are responsible for the ankle and toe movements.
Covering your bones is a smooth substance called cartilage, which acts as a cushion to reduce the friction between your bones as they move. If your cartilage wears down, arthritis can develop and cause loss of motion and pain.
Today, an increasing number of patients in the U.S. undergo this surgery to help them regain motion and reduce pain.2
Unlike an ankle fusion, an ankle replacement removes the diseased portions of the bone and cartilage, and replaces them with metal and high medical quality plastic components. This allows patients to retain more of their natural anatomy and movement while reducing pain.3-8
Patients will undergo anesthesia or a nerve block and can expect to be in the operating room between two and three hours. The surgeon will make an incision either at the front or the side of the ankle, depending on the type of implant. The diseased portions of the bones and cartilage are removed and the metal and plastic implant components are placed accordingly. Once the implant is properly aligned, the wound is sealed and a splint or cast is applied.
The Exactech Vantage® Total Ankle was created by a team of engineers and global surgeon leaders who are passionate about getting patients back to what they love.
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Proud grandmother Kathy Driver had been struggling with ankle pain for years after a fall nearly 30 years ago. A total ankle replacement helped get her back on her feet and playing with her grandkids again.
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Retired firefighter Bill Smith was suffering from ankle arthritis which limited his daily activities. After a total ankle replacement, he’s taking his life back — one step at a time.
What is recovery like after joint replacement?
Full recovery from an ankle replacement may take as long as six months with continuous improvement for the next two years.* Every patient recovery experience is unique, so be sure to talk with your doctor about your progress.
Your doctor will decide if physical therapy is right for you and what restrictions may apply.
*This information is based on the experiences of the Vantage Ankle design team surgeons.
What activities can be resumed after surgery?
A majority of patients can return to partial weight-bearing activities three weeks after surgery, and all patients by six weeks. Activities like golf may be resumed between three and four months after surgery. *
*This information is based on the experiences of the Vantage Ankle design team surgeons
- The next big thing: opportunities and innovations in total ankle arthroplasty. 2011 Jan 1. Retrieved from: https://www.mddionline.com/article/next-big-thingopportunities-and-innovations-total-ankle-arthroplasty.
- Total ankle arthroplasty. Retrieved from: https://www.aofas.org/footcaremd/treatments/Pages/Total-Ankle-Arthroplasty.aspx.
- Mann JA, Mann RA, Horton E (2011) Start ankle: long-term results. Foot Ankle Int 32:S473-S484.
- Arthritis of the foot and ankle. Retrieved from: https://www.orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00209.
- Gould JS, Alvine FG, Mann RA, Sanders RW, Walling AK. Total ankle replacement: a surgical discussion. Part II. The clinical and surgical experience. AM J Orthop.2000;29(9):675-682.
- Nunley JA, Caputo AM, Easley ME, Cook C. Intermediate to long-term outcomes of the STAR total ankle replacement: the patient perspective. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2012; 94 (1):43-48.
- Data on file at Exactech, Inc.
- Gougoulias NE, Khanna A, Maffulli N. History and evolution in total ankle arthroplasty. British Medical Bulletin. 2009;89:111-51. Epub 2008 Nov 16. doi:10.1093/bmb/ldn039.
- Siegler S, Toy J, Seale D, Pedowitz D. New observations on the morphology of the talar dome and its relationship to ankle kinematics. Clinical Biomechanics. 2014;29:1-6.