Ask a Doctor: When is ankle replacement right for you?

Male Doctor Writing On Medical Document

Q: When is ankle replacement right for you?

A: If you have completed at least six months of conservative therapy with bracing, anti-inflammatory medications and a cane or crutches and had little success, you may be a good candidate for an ankle replacement. When the ankle is replaced, the worn-out joint surface is removed and resurfaced with a metal alloy and a plastic spacer, replacing the damaged cartilage surfaces and designed to decrease arthritic pain while maintaining joint motion. Ankle replacement may not be the right choice for individuals with previous ankle infections, diabetes, neuropathy or those who are severely obese. Moreover, young adults who engage in high-impact activities, such as running or jumping, may want to consider alternative treatment options.