For many patients who suffer from ankle injuries or arthritis of the ankle joint, non-surgical treatments or minor surgical procedures can be highly effective in restoring mobility or relieving debilitating pain. If your physician, after exploring a variety of treatment options, has come to the conclusion that an ankle arthroplasty (more commonly known as a total ankle replacement surgery) is the right solution for you, then you probably have a lot of questions about what is going to take place before, during, and after the procedure. Most importantly, you need to know a few things about what happens after your operation in order to prolong the benefits of this procedure. Here are just a few important facts about total ankle replacement surgery recovery.
Total Ankle Replacement Surgery Recovery: The Basics
1. The Recovery Process: For approximately six weeks following your procedure, you will wear a boot or splint and use a walker or crutches to move around. During the first 2 weeks, it is recommended that you limit your movements and allow the incision to heal. After this initial healing period, you will be able to remove the boot in order to perform some simple exercises. Not everyone needs a physical therapist, as some patients are able to do these exercises by themselves. Some people have a longer initial healing period than others, depending on whether or not other procedures are necessary. Talk to your doctor about what to expect for exercise, crutches, and the length of time necessary for wearing your boot during your total ankle replacement surgery recovery.
2. Pain Management: Following the procedure, you will be prescribed pain medication for a few days, after which point medication is typically unnecessary. While some mild pain relievers may become necessary from time to time, especially after exercise, you should talk to your doctor about any severe pain that occurs after the first couple of days.
3. Diet and Exercise: In addition to your physical therapy or simple ankle exercises, remember that what you eat can have a significant impact on your recovery process. Nutrition and overall physical fitness are important factors in the recovery and prognosis for your total ankle replacement. If you need suggestions for improving your diet or exercise routine, talk to your doctor for advice.