If you've been dealing with severe arthritis in your ankle for a while, you're probably ready to do just about anything to be rid of the pain. But at the same time, the idea of having a major surgery and dealing with more pain during recovery can be intimidating. Thus, you may not be sure whether to go through with the total ankle replacement your doctor is recommending. Here's the reality: ankle replacement surgery won't be easy. However, it is almost always worth it, and here's why.
Your mobility will be restored, too.
There are other ways to alleviate the pain associated with ankle arthritis. One common one is ankle fusion — a procedure in which the two damaged bones are fused together so they no longer cause you pain when they move past one another. Unfortunately, though, this procedure also leaves you unable to move your ankle properly. A total ankle replacement alleviates pain and also restores mobility. You'll be able to move your ankle better than you have in years, making it possible to engage in activities you love such as cycling, hiking, and even playing sports. Isn't that worth a month more of pain as you recover from surgery?
It will be a one-time procedure.
Chances are, you're tired of going to doctors and physical therapists by this point. You have appointments for pain management, other appointments to guide you through stretches, and the list goes on. When you have an ankle replacement, these appointments will come to an end. Yes, you will have a few follow-up appointments and a few months of physical therapy after surgery, but after that, you'll be done aside from annual or biannual appointments to make sure your artificial ankle is doing okay. An ankle replacement will free up so much of your time.
It will reduce your need for pain relievers.
Continually taking pain relievers is not good for you. NSAIDS can cause problems like stomach ulcers, and opiates can be downright dangerous and addictive. If you do not have an ankle replacement, you will continue to be dependent on these substances. On the other hand, if you have an ankle replacement, you will be able to stop using pain relievers after you're healed from the surgery. This will be good for your health overall.
The idea of having your whole ankle replaced can be a little nerve-wracking, but in the long run, it is usually a very good choice. Talk to your doctor to learn more.