Ankle replacement and physical therapy

The procedure of total ankle replacement is also known as total ankle arthroplasty.

It is a treatment in which your ankle joint is replaced completely with an artificial joint.

Ankle is the part of the lower leg where the tibia meets the talus bone on top of your foot. Sometimes the cartilage which covers these Bones start to dissolve away which results in friction between these bone absorbing of bone and unbearable pain. In this situation the most desirable treatment is a total ankle replacement. Total ankle replacement can be helpful in treating ankle affected by following diseases

  •  osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteonecrosis
  • Arthritis due to trauma
  • Joint damage due to trauma
  • Septic arthritis 

Role of physical therapy in total ankle replacement

Physical therapy has an essential role in managing post operative symptoms such as

  • Reduction of pain and swelling

It is quite normal to experience a lot of pain and swelling after knee replacement. The swelling  and pain may last from 6 to 12 months. Your surgeon may prescribe you anti-inflammatory and pain relievers to manage the symptoms but a physical therapy also play an essential role in managing the symptoms for reducing pain and swelling a physical therapist will practice techniques such as electrical impulse stimulation and cold therapy or compression therapy as well by these techniques swelling and pain is reduced significantly.

  • Normalising range of motion

After ankle replacement surgery your ankle is very stiff due to inflammation and post operative effect a physical therapist use several techniques such as stretching joint mobilization technique soft tissue massage techniques and self stretching exercises which aids in normalising the range of motion

  • Stabilizing gait and balance

After ankle replacement it is obvious that you take a rest for a long time and your foot remains in boot as well. Due to this when you try to walk at first your gait will not be normal and you will also be unable to maintain a balance. When you start walking at first your physical therapist will also perform a set of balance and gait stabilising exercises on you  so that you can balance your body effectively and maintain your normal gait.

  • Regaining strength and flexibility

After an ankle replacement surgery you are on the bed rest for a long time that’s why your muscles of leg foot and ankle becomes weak in addition to that due to post surgical  effects muscles of ankle are also much weaker than normal. A physical therapist will program a set of various strength building exercises which normalise the strength of your muscles of leg and ankle as well. It is a gradual process. It will take time like 6 to 12 months but after this period of time you will be able to perform your function normally.