For some patients with ankle arthritis or significant ankle damage, a total ankle replacement is the best option for restoring function and easing pain. At Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers in Texas, one of the most common questions our patients ask is about the length of recovery.
Our board-certified surgeons, Ryan N. Lawrence, DPM, and Joe T. Southerland, DPM, specialize in improving the stability and mobility of damaged ankles with this joint replacement surgery. The prosthetic replacement ankle parts work and move like your natural ankle — without causing you pain.
Recovering from total ankle replacement takes time, however. For most patients, the recovery process takes between 6-12 months. There are things you can do to help speed your recovery so you can get back on your feet faster.
Keep reading to learn our top tips for speeding up recovery after a total ankle replacement.
It’s important not to bear any weight on your ankle after surgery. When fluid builds up, swelling results. This slows blood flow to the treated ankle, which slows healing.
Keeping your ankle elevated for 1-2 weeks after surgery helps reduce swelling. This speeds your recovery and helps you get back to bearing weight.
After a total ankle replacement, you need to build strength and flexibility in the treated joint. Your providers give you exercises to get started immediately after surgery. To accelerate healing, be sure to complete your exercises as directed.
The food you eat plays a big role in your recovery. To make sure you heal as quickly as possible, pay attention to your diet before and after surgery.
A healthy diet helps you maintain a healthy weight. Weighing the right weight for your body means less stress on your ankle after surgery.
Plus, a healthy diet gives you the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals you need to recover well. To make it easier to eat right after surgery, stock up on healthy options before surgery.
Before surgery, take time to set yourself up for a successful recovery. Create safe pathways for movement by clearing clutter and removing area rugs and other tripping hazards.
Put frequently needed items in an easy-to-reach place. And make sure electrical cords, phone charging wires, and other such items are secured so you don’t trip when you try to get up and move.
It’s also important to get help — especially during the first few weeks after surgery. Ask friends or family members to help with everyday tasks, like housecleaning, taking out garbage, and getting the mail.
Like all surgeries, a total ankle replacement comes with potential complications, such as infections or blood clots. These issues can slow your recovery or even set you back a few steps.
Knowing the warning signs and understanding when you call your doctor can help. The sooner you get treated for any post-surgery complications, the faster you can recover and get back to healing.
If you notice any of the following signs or symptoms, call your Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers provider:
To learn more about recovering after ankle replacement surgery, contact the experts at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers.