total ankle replacement


Ankle pain affects approximately 10% of the population, of which 3% to 4% have ankle arthritis.  Arthritis is a condition that results from damage to the cartilage in the joint resulting in pain and decreased motion.  The primary cause of ankle arthritis is a previous injury such as a fracture or multiple ankle sprains. The level of disability related to ankle arthritis can be significant.  Patients may have pain every day resulting in decreased activity levels.  Some of them will avoid those activities they need to do and generally struggle participating in activities that give them joy such as hiking and golf.


In the past, ankle fusion was the recommended treatment for severe ankle arthritis.  This procedure causes bone to grow across the joint which limits pain, but also motion.  Total ankle replacement exists now and is the recommended treatment for most patients with severe ankle arthritis by the orthopedic foot and ankle specialists at Reno Orthopedic Clinic.  This procedure is very similar to the commonly performed total knee replacement and total hip replacement for patients with knee and hip arthritis.  The surgeon replaces the ankle joint with a metal component on each end of the bone with a plastic spacer.


Recent studies identify the success of total ankle replacement is similar to knee and hip replacements.  Patients satisfaction is high, allowing them to resume the low impact activities they used to enjoy.  Our patients return to skiing, hiking, tennis, golf, and many other sports and hobbies.  Long term results of the ankle replacements are also good.  After fifteen years, total ankle replacements are still functioning in 70% of patients.


Total ankle replacement makes up only 1% of all joint replacements in the United States.  Because it is a relatively uncommon procedure, it is important for patients to find a surgeon with the right training and experience to perform the procedure for the best outcomes.   The orthopedic foot and ankle surgeons at Reno Orthopedic Clinic have been performing total ankle replacements since 2009.  We perform more ankle replacements in Northern Nevada than any other providers.  Due to our experience, other surgeons, both nationally and internationally, travel to Reno to learn our techniques or attend courses taught by ROC surgeons.  In addition, we are committed to education and research.  ROC physicians have published research related to total ankle replacement in peer reviewed journals and presented our results at national and international meetings.